PRODUCTIVITY / TIME BLOCKING
Dividing the day into blocks of time with each block dedicated to accomplishing a specific task or activity and only that specific task or activity.
Promotes deep focus and getting the deep work done
Focusing all your attention and energy on a single task brings all the metal focus and resources to do one thing rather than spreading attention across several tasks. It’s proven that the more you focus on a single task the more you build the mental focus muscles to get ‘into the zone’ and complete these deep tasks in a timely fashion and stay in the zone more regularly.
Help you get the ‘shallow work’ done quicker and easier
This is the stuff that isn’t super important but is pretty urgent to ensure you tick the box towards the long term goals. E.g email and responding to DM’s. If you set certain times to ‘do this stuff’ and be strict on it you have clear limits and will be able to power through them more efficiently over time and ensure you have enough mental space for the deep work. Protects you from being stuck here in the shallow stuff.
GIVES CLARITY ON HOW WE SPEND OUT TIME
Most humans are bad at time management, we aren’t Great at estimating how long tasks will take which leads to a tendency to overcommit ourselves leading to burnouts and overwhelm. Time blocking allows us to be aware of how we are spending our time and begin to prioritise our commitments. Time is finite we don’t have a never ending supply so it is important to know exactly when we will be completing the new commitments we are adding to our days. If we keep saying yes, yes, yes and have a very superficial commitment to this without actually creating time for it and seeing how it will fit into our calendars again we are leading ourselves down the path of overwhelm and burn out when we are clear about exactly when we will do what we know how much free time we have and how much time we may be wasting and it becomes easier to say yes and no to certain things. If we don’t know how we are spending our time we are often ready to say yes yes yes to just anything for the instant gratification or the want to help others.
HELPS YOU COUNTER ACT YOUR PERFECTIONISM
Time blocking can help you put your own limits on your projects, it can be very difficult to know when an open ended project is finished especially if you were aiming for perfection (more on this topic another time but remember progress not perfection.) At some point you’ll need to say good enough enough and move on. If you find yourself always dragging out tasks to just get everything right and strict time block to finish the task is going to help you stick to it. A little bit of tactical stress / pressure on yourself is a good thing, how many times are you going to keep at it for perfection to only get frustrated at yourself later? Time to start kicking that habit on certain tasks.
TICKS THE GOAL
When you schedule your tasks and goals you’re on average 40% more likely to follow through. Time blocking forces you to acknowledge and make actual plans to ensure you’re working towards your goals every day.
(further reading 'Beyond Good Intentions Study')
Some common problems
👉🏽 underestimating time (upon reflection daily or weekly you can readjust what needs to be to be better at this) you can even schedule ‘unfinished tasks’ time into your schedule that becomes free time the more you get those tasks finished
👉🏽 being too concrete or rigid - things will always pop but it’s not a this is it nothing else but gives you power to make decisions and reschedule things where you can knowing the implications
👉🏽 over scheduling your free time - block out time for leisure and disconnection don’t ‘plan’ step by step what you will do here give yourself the flexibility, freedom and spontaneity
So what do I use?
Productivity Spreadsheet (link at the bottom) to organise and reflect
Google Calendar for reminder real time, rescheduling - ask me 5 years ago to time block or structure my life, I had the same response potentially you have… no way I like freedom. Guess what I was constantly stressed, overwhelmed, lack lustre, never getting things done, unsuccessful, never connecting to my goals let alone achieving them. The list goes on, like ANYTHING it takes practice it’s a skill we can learn.
Categorise your commitments
- personal admin
- Meal prep
- Working out
- Work (for me this is broken down individually given the nature of it)
- Free time
- Morning routine
- Night routine
- Professional development
Step 2: Now block these all into your calendar go all colour coding if that’s your vibe.
Comments: Also every single appointment goes in with a reminder before hand if I have to be at the dentist at 3pm and it takes me 30 minutes to drive there I schedule the task for 3pm with a reminder 40 minutes beforehand
HINTS: If you struggle with digital do it on paper, one thing is JUST TRY give it time, prioritise going into the schedule regularly, use it, set alarms on your phone to check it.
Step 3: REFLECT AND RE-ADJUST this is an important part of the process, what works, what doesn’t, do you need to adjust?
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