I am always looking for ways to get more done less time. I love boosting my productivity. Lately, I have been experimenting with time blocking. I’ll share my personal thoughts on it with you in a bit but first, let’s look at what it is and how blocking your time is supposed to help.
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What Is Time Blocking?
Simply put, time blocking is a way to organize your schedule so that you get more done in less time. It’s a strategy for efficiency. It can be applied either at home or in your personal life. To time block, you dedicate a block of time to a certain task. For example, I like to write in the mornings. It’s part of my morning routine. I will confess, it does not always happen. Sometimes, life happens instead. So, I am going to start experimenting with time blocking and taking you along with me on the journey, as we explore why, how, and if it really helps.Time blocking is a way to organize your schedule so that you get more done in less time. Click To Tweet
Is Time Blocking the Same as Batch Tasking?
Time blocking and batch tasking are not the same but are often used together. With time blocking, you dedicate a certain amount of time to a task. With batch tasking, you do the same type of task together.
I became interested in batch tasking when I read that your brain takes time to refocus when you get interrupted. Hence, single-tasking is actually much more efficient than multi-tasking. Because really, your brain can only focus on one thing at a time. So when you multitask, it’s constantly switching back and forth, leaving you doing no one thing really well.
Why Should I Block my Time?
I recently read on a personal finance blog that “when you tell your money what to do it listens when you don’t it disappears.” The same can be said for another commodity that’s just as valuable – your time. When you practice time blocking, you are making the most of your time. We waste a lot of valuable time on less productive stuff. I want to get more done in less time because I want to be fully present when I’m with my family. I have a hard time turning work off sometimes. Last Saturday, instead of cuddling with my husband and watching TV, I was writing a blog post at the last minute. (Ironically, it was on how to beat procrastination.)Click To Tweet
“I missed you.” He told me later this week. I can’t block the TV out, and I really needed to get that post done, so I relocated to our bedroom. However, if I had time blocked my time out better, I would have already had it done. When you plan ahead, you can get so much more out of your time. Time blocking is not just for your professional life, it ‘s for your personal life too. I don’t WANT to spend my Saturday working. That’s family time. That’s one of the big motivators for me writing this post is because I don’t want that to become a regular occurrence. I want to tell my time what to do so that it does not disappear.
Who Does Time Blocking Work for?
Time blocking is not for everyone! Though I dearly love my schedule, my husband does not. That was one of his number one complaints that I over-plan and over-schedule. (Did I mention we were on vacation at the time?)
Left to my own devices, I will plan and schedule everything Good thing I have a wonderful husband that is not afraid to stop me! Ha! People that might benefit from time blocking might be:
- Business professionals
- Anyone that has control of their time and can dedicate large chunks to working.
Though my natural tendency is to plan, when I had small children, I quickly learned that things can get unpredictable fast. I did have a routine, but sitting down to accomplish tasks in one big block of time all day long – Ha! I quickly learned that Mom life is full of little interruptions.Mom life is full of little interruptions Click To Tweet
That was one of the things that tested my patience when I became a stay at home mom. If your life or your work is largely responsive to other people, time blocking may just lead you to frustration. It’s very hard, if not impossible to time block if you face constant interruptions.
If you are a mom and you are looking for a good way to schedule your day, time blocking per se, might not be for you, but you might want to check out this mommy schedule.
Time Blocking Planner
If you are more of a physical object type person, here’s a quick review of the best 5 time blocking planners on Amazon, along with their pros and cons:
- lowest priced
- Best Reviews
- Simple Design
- Undated pages, so it can be used anytime
- Only 50 pages
My thoughts: It’s a notepad. If you want to plan your day by day on a notepad, and that’s what floats your boat, then you might like this. I want to plan more than one day at a time. Plus, I am really bad to randomly misplace notepads.
- Very pretty and several different colors
- Undated pages (and a lot of them! Enough for 6+ months)
- Daily pages
- Guided focus system
- 24-hour schedule
- Project planning worksheets
- Vision board section
- Limited space for writing
- Priced higher
- No separate review section for goals
My thoughts: This one, again is not specifically geared towards time-blocking. It seems to be hard to find one that is. I like the look and feel of the Gazelle Planner. It’s a good overall planner, but it does seem to be female geared. There’s not much space to write things and again, the daily schedule goes by the hour. This seems to be more of an over-all life planner to me.
- Has a place for schedules, goals, anticipations, tasks, and reflections
- Un-dated 6 month planner
- A place to focus priorities
- 3 bookmarks
- Full calendar spread
- More of a general purpose planner, not specifically time blocking
- Have to pay extra for pretty colors
- Different Sections for daily, weekly, and monthly views.
My thoughts: Of the top-rated planners, this one is my favorite. It’s not very flashy and seems more work-appropriate. It is also broken down by the hour, but at least you have more room to write. It seems much more business-like. I do like that it has a place for quotes, victories, and gratitude, but they do not seem to be the main focus of the planner.
- Lays flat
- Includes note/creativity pages
- Nice bonuses
- Not very focused on time blocking
- More of a long-term goal/planning planner
- Critical reviews claimed the lines were too small to write in
My thoughts: I’m not wild about this planner. It is one of the top-rated, but it’s not my cup of tea. It’s more long-term goal focused and not what I would look for in a time blocking planner at all.
- Designed to promote positive thinking
- Comes with stickers and dividers
- Monthly, Weekly, and Daily sections
- A large section dedicated to review
- Not really designed for time blocking since it goes in increments of hours
- More of a general purpose planner
- Focuses heavily on emotions, goal setting, and positive quotes. (Which is great, but not really time blocking focused.)
My thoughts: When I think time blocking, I think professional and work-related. That’s not this planner. It’s OK for an overall planner, but not geared towards time-blocking at all. I personally don’t care for all the stickers that come with it.
Nope, Don’t like Any of Those Time Blocking Planners. What Else Do You Have?
Despite my search on Amazon, it’s hard to find a physical planner that’s exclusively for time-blocking. I made a time-blocking template for both of us, that I will describe below. If you would like more options, I did find this list of free printable planners.
The planner that I personally use is the Slay Your Goals Planner, which is a digital product, but I printed it out and put it in a binder. It’s more of a long-term goal planner, and not at all focused on time blocking. I like it because it helps me to define my goals and break them down into sub-goals, which is what I needed. I did a full review of the slay your goals planer and there’s a video that show’s you the whole planner. However, I also made a time blocking template below for both of us to help schedule each day.
Time Blocking Template
If you are looking for a time blocking template, I recently added one in my freebie library. If you would like access to it, simply enter your email address below, and get it, along with other perks.
Print off as few or as many as you want and adjust it to your needs. Many time blocking apps color code their blocks of time, which you could easily do with a highlighter on a printed sheet. This is what it looks like:
Time Block App
There are several time-blocking apps available. My favorite one is simply google calendar because I didn’t have to install anything additional on my phone and I found it fairly easy to use. If you do not like google calendar or are simply curious as to what other time blocking apps are out there, I found a nice list of time blocking apps here.
Time Blocking Google Calendar
Since Google calendar is what I have on my phone, and it’s also on the PC and pretty much everywhere I go, I decided to try out time blocking on Google Calendars. I had to look at a tutorial on how to block time on google calendars first, but once I got the hang of it, it was pretty easy. I liked how you can drag the time blocks if you need more time for something and how you can select an option to apply a block of time for every weekday. That makes it super easy to keep more or less the same schedule every day. While I wasn’t too sure about the advice to color-code everything, I found that I was quite happy with the result and I can see where large chunks of my time are disappearing to. I can also see why I do not always get as much done in a day as I plan to.
My Experience With Time Blocking and What I Want to Try
I have been doing keyword research one day for my posts, then writing for a day or two, depending on how long the post was and what else I had going on that day, and then editing and doing the pin graphics and scheduling on another day. However, this time, I did all my keyword research on Tuesday for all the blog posts this month. I took Wednesday off to tend to personal matters. Thursday, I wrote blog post #1, and I scheduled it Friday (today), along with editing and graphics. My goal is to get all my blog posts done by the end of next week. Then I will edit them all, do all the pin images at once and schedule them by next Friday.
I blocked my time out on Google Calendars, but so far, it’s probably a bit more generalized than is recommended. I’ll tweak it a bit as I go through the week, but it’s a good start.
Do you have experience with time blocking? What works for you and what doesn’t? Did you love it or hate it? Did it help you? I’d love to hear all about your experience! Leave me a comment below!