We live in a very busy world. The people of today often find themselves unable to have a free minute for themselves, while multitasking has become a given. We constantly feel like we don’t have enough time and wish that we had more.
It shouldn’t be that way. There is an easy strategy you can follow while planning your day in order to avoid feeling exhausted and tight for time. Here’s everything you need to know about time blocking.
What Is Time Blocking?
To put it simply, time blocking is the practice of structuring your to-do tasks throughout the day in a way that is most productive from your point of view. These tasks include meals, personal hours, and work projects, which means that everything will have its time slot and you will be able to detect the places where you most often lose time.
Time blocking has also been referred to as calendar blocking. In order for it to work, you have to schedule your entire day down to a minute. If you don’t do that, your plan will not work and your time blocking will turn out to be ineffective.
Benefits Of Time Blocking
Time blocking has some really big advantages to it. It is impossible to name them all at once, but here are the most important ones that will persuade you that time blocking is totally worth it:
- Right Priorities: By using time blocking, you prioritize only the most important work. When you sit down and actually plan your day according to what you need the most, you will find that the time blocking practices will help you identify the tasks that can’t be postponed. This will enable you to complete them in time.
- No Distractions: Distractions are everywhere, irritating you in the form of clients, coworkers, and even notifications on your smartphone or laptop. It is very hard to focus on one job when you have so many others pulling at you. Time blocking aims to minimize these effects and allows you to concentrate on the work at hand.
- Mental Burden: Sometimes we have to switch tasks and move them around in order to complete the ones that have their deadlines much closer. With time blocking, this mental burden of switching tasks is almost entirely lifted. When planning your day, you will already see what you must complete first and what can be done later.
- Anxiety & Stress: To continue the topic of the mental burden being lifted, anxiety and stress are a big issue too when it comes to managing your day. Time blocking allows you to be more confident in the schedule you set for yourself on a certain day. This will reduce your stress levels and help you get rid of anxiety.
- Goal Management: By prioritizing certain tasks, you can also set more specific goals and have them in front of you to motivate yourself. For example, you want to expand your business. To do this, you must go global by translating your site. You can do this by assigning the job to professionals such as The Word Point, an online localization service.
- Wasted Time: Last but not least, time blocking can dramatically reduce the amount of your wasted time. You will be able to see the places where you usually lose most of it and where the precious hours are. Then, you can manage them in a way that every minute is used efficiently.
How To Use Time Blocking
Now that you are sure that time blocking is what you need in your life, here is a step-by-step guide on how to time block:
- Break Your Day Into Sections: The first step is to break your day into sections so you can then work with each one separately. You must determine what hours are usually your most productive ones and which are not. Doing so will help you decide afterward which tasks must be put in what time period. It is a good idea to have each section span an hour at least and 3-4 hours at most in order to have somewhat similar time slots.
- Make A List Of Regular Tasks: Now make a list of tasks you do on a regular basis. Maybe you have a dog you walk every morning and evening. Or maybe you go to the gym on certain days of the week. Other regular tasks will be the basic ones everyone completes such as getting ready for work, meals, showering, and sleeping. Of course, the hours for these will vary by person, but you get the idea.
- Assign Them Their Places: Take each of your regular tasks and assign them their fixed places in your schedule. They will repeat every week, so you can be sure that certain time slots are taken and this will let you faster decide the places for your current irregular tasks.
- Make A List Of Current Tasks: Along with the fixed regular tasks, you have the current ones that come up every day or week. Most of the time you will be able to plan the majority of your day because you will know what you must do beforehand (sometimes a week or even a month prior to that). But other times you will get a new task in the morning of your current day, so it is important to keep in mind those too.
- Assign Them Their Places: Lastly, assign them their places in your current day. Remember that you will have to do these last two steps every day because these tasks can’t be fixed like the regular ones. When you get a project that has a starting date a week from now, you can already include in your plan for that day which will reduce the time you spent on time blocking in the future.
Time Blocking Challenges
The biggest challenge of time blocking is probably the fact that you will still have to move some tasks once in a while. We can’t know what awaits us in the day to come, so there may be unexpected situations that can disrupt your plan.
You may also make mistakes while time blocking. For example, you might choose the wrong time of the day for certain tasks or simply forget to plan others entirely.
Lastly, your workplace may not allow for such planning. The type of job you work on will influence your ability to time block your day because some jobs require you to be flexible at all times.
All in all, time blocking is definitely one of the most effective ways of managing your schedule and saving time. Try the tips and follow the best strategies of time blocking in order to get the most out of it.
Article contributed by Frank Hamilton
Frank Hamilton has been working as a translator at translation service TheWordPoint. He is a professional writing expert in such topics as blogging, digital marketing and self-education. He also loves traveling and speaks Spanish, French, German and English.