Keeping a task list, or to-do list, is key to the process of getting things done.
However, tasks tend to remain as just items on a list until you actually take time to schedule each individual tasks on your calendar—and then focus exclusively on that single task for the time you’ve allotted.
That’s called time blocking.
Time blocking is a very effective productivity/time management habit that helps you determine how long you’ll focus your time and energy by assigning a very specific task to a very specific block of time.
Without time blocking, work tends to go undone, or expand to fill the time available for its completion.
Take ten or twenty minutes every evening to build your schedule for the next day. Look over your task lists and calendar for the next day.
Choose your highest priority task and schedule on your calendar exactly when you’ll start and when you’ll end working on that task.
Be honest with yourself about how long it will actually take to accomplish the task and then give yourself an extra 15 to 30 minutes—until you become very good at estimating the time it will take.
Then choose your second highest priority and repeat the process.
Time blocking helps you prepare mentally for the next day. In fact, you’ll find that ideas appear as you need them. Time blocking plants a seed in your subconscious and you may not be aware that your mind is already working on the priority.
In fact, many practitioners of time blocking discover that a 40-hour time-blocked work week generally produces the same amount of results as a 60+ hour work week without structure.
You’ll know which hours during the day are your most productive, or most creative, or have the most energy—and it’s a good idea to match the right task with the right time of day.
Make sure people know they shouldn’t disturb you. Wear headphones, put up a sign, close your door—your circumstances will determine the best way to politely communicate this. Put your phone away, sign out of social media, close all unneeded tabs and concentrate on the task on hand for the time you’ve assigned. You’ll be amazed at how much you get done during your time block!