Running a company can trigger brain-melting levels of scheduling issues. Sometimes, you might encounter a day in which you need to meet 11 different people, complete four different projects, and still have enough time to spend with family in the evening.
Chances are, you already know that you need to be on the ball with your work calendar. Perhaps you already practice several time management techniques just to help you get through the day.
Time blocking is a relatively simple time management technique that helps you to split your day into different “modes.” For example, you might choose the period between the hours of 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. to be completely focused on reaching out to people who have contacted you.
That way, by the time 11 a.m. rolls around, you can focus on other parts of your job without needing to worry about replying to emails or sending messages. In the back of your mind, you know that you’ll be able to reply to all of your messages at 9 a.m. the next day, so you don’t need to feel obligated to reply earlier.
Cal Newport, the author of books on time management, is a huge supporter of time blocking: “A 40 hour time-blocked work week, I estimate, produces the same amount of output as a 60+ hour work week pursued without structure.”
Let’s dive in deeper and explore exactly how time blocking can help you in the workplace.
Blocking time to increase focus
As a busy entrepreneur or CEO, for example, tasks can quickly pile up. The last thing you want is to be marooned in “reactive” mode, in a constant state of mild panic replying to messages and checking unrelated tasks off your to-do list.
Here are some quick tips to help you use time blocking effectively:
Schedule your time blocks in advance. Hastily putting together your time blocks at the start of your workday will only waste time. On a similar note, if you have any unfinished tasks at the end of the day, you should switch your time blocks over the coming days to accommodate this extra task.
Differentiate between shallow, reactive work and deeper, focused work. Anything that involves interaction such as meetings, emails, messages, or phone calls could be classed as shallow or reactive work. Try to group all of this together in one time block so that you can get it out of the way. Then, you’ll have other time blocks to focus on your individual work without the distraction of messages.
Move on when it’s time. Are you prone to lingering on tasks? If you have perfectionist tendencies, it can be hard to progress through your day. You might accidentally spend hours searching for the perfect words to use on your company’s home page, only for your other work to build up. The only way for time blocking to work is if you stick to your schedule and avoid going overtime, or things will fall by the wayside.
Avoid blocking off too little time for your tasks. If you’re unsure how long something will take, it’s better to err on the side of caution and block too much time. Also, try to avoid getting too wrapped up in your time blocks. If there is an urgent task that needs completing today, don’t put it off just because your time blocks tell you to.
Use non-negotiable time blocks for things that are very important to you. If you need to get to your child’s soccer game at 6 p.m., then block that time off and stick to it.
Why is time blocking proven to work?
When you break it down, time blocking works for two reasons.
It’s more detailed than a standard to-do list. These only tell you which tasks need to be completed and leave it totally up to the user to decide when.
It helps prevent multitasking and promotes single-tasking. People like to brag about the fact that they can multitask. However, nobody can truly concentrate on more than one thing at one time. Multitasking, as we know it, involves somebody’s brain desperately trying to switch back and forth between tasks. This often leads to errors.
Single-tasking has been shown to contribute toward 80% higher work efficiency. Researchers have estimated that you lose around 20% of your overall productivity for each new task you attempt to take on simultaneously.
Should you download a time blocking app?
Time blocking apps, such as Hyperplanner, can work wonders for the right kind of person. If you’re an entrepreneur, CEO, CMO, or anybody struggling to balance your daily tasks, it’s definitely worth a shot.
One of the major benefits for many users is the fact that time blocking has helped them to win back family time. Their increased productivity at work means they have more free time to spend with their partner or children.
Time blocking can help you start attacking every workday with a clear framework in mind. There’s no longer a need to spend hours of each day deducing which tasks to prioritize.
Click here to discover other services and tools we can’t live without at VeryCreatives.