One of the most powerful secret weapons of productivity is time blocking. You might feel that taking time to time block feels like one more thing to do. You might think you’d be better off checking something off your growing to-do list instead. But that’s the wrong way to look at it.
What to do when your time under siege.
It’s easy to feel like you’ve lost control of your schedule. You’re on a hamster wheel of email and video conferences that spins into tomorrow… and the next day… and the day after that.
Don’t you wish that you could calmly start the day already knowing how you’ll spend your time—instead of struggling to remember what you left undone yesterday?
How about knowing that the most important things will get done—instead of working on one task just to drop it and pick up another seemingly more important task?
That’s exactly why the most effective people use time blocking.
How to build a wall around your valuable time every day.
Time blocking is the act of intentionally planning your day (better yet, planning your next day) as a series of blocks—periods of time focused on accomplishing just one thing. When you time block, you’re making a commitment with yourself in order to complete a specific task.
Time blocking is moving a task or project from your do-to list and placing it on your calendar in order to accomplish it on a specific day at a specific time. Then, for that time, you build a ‘wall’ around that task so that other less-important things don’t interfere or distract.
The key word here is focus. This doesn’t work if you allow any interruptions or distractions. And this is something anyone can do even if you work in a super busy open office, or you’re expected to answer whenever anyone messages you.
Time blocking will protect your time and your energy.
With time blocking you’ll feel more in control. This is especially important because control may be the biggest driver of happiness at work. Constant interruptions make you less happy and less productive. Time boxing is the proper antidote to this. You decide what to do and when to do it, block out all distractions for that timeboxed period, and get it done. Repeat.
When the unexpected happens, with time blocking you don’t abandon your plan. You reschedule the rest of your day based on the time and tasks you have left.
Scheduling blocks of time doesn’t have to involve just work-related stuff. Block out time for relationships, volunteer opportunities, reading and studying. The things that matter most to you need to be scheduled—no matter what.