Too many times I’ve planned my 8-hour day, only to have 1-2 hours to work on my projects. Meetings, emails, and coworkers can mess with your to-do list. Sound familiar?
I’ve read about time blocking in Deep Work from Cal Newport, who swears by it. Elon Musk and Bill Gates also implement time blocking in their schedule. With time blocking, you dedicate a certain amount of time to a task. That appealed to me.
For the last 7 days, I have tried time blocking to increase my productivity. Here’s what happened.
Time blocking against distraction
Time blocking should help to increase focus and productivity. By focusing on one task at a time, you will minimize distractions during the day.
As Cal Newport states: ‘It generates a massive amount of productivity. A 40-hour time-blocked work week, I estimate, produces the same amount of output as a 60+ hour work week pursued without a structure’.
What I enjoy about time blocking is the fact that you’re doing one thing at a time. No multitasking, no getting your phone, but only getting the work done. It is hard to stay focused when you’re doing three things at the same time. Time blocking helps prevent that.
Time blocking for productivity
Since I prepare my days by blocking time in my schedule, my productivity has increased dramatically. I not only get all the tasks for my day job done on time, but I also have time left to relax and write.
With time blocking, you are not reactive to the emails coming in. Instead, you decide where you spend your time and stay on top of your schedule. The moment you eliminate distractions, the work you get done increases.
Time blocking for headspace
In the first couple of days, I needed to get used to planning everything. I planned when I was taking a shower, my tasks, and also my downtime. After the first days, I started to enjoy it. I knew what I was going to work on and that I was going to meet my deadlines. That relaxed me.
Working while you’re relaxed helps your mindset. It deepens the work that I’m doing and makes sure that my output is relatively predictable.
Plus, I get to schedule my downtime. When you make sure you have downtime scheduled, you know that you make enough time to recharge.
Adapt to what happens
It may seem now that time blocking is a static thing that you do once per day. That’s not entirely true. If you find that you need to finish that one deadline you’re working on, you simply adjust your schedule.
When you adjust your schedule, you move the things you’ve planned for that day and make a new schedule. It keeps your schedule up to date, and you free up some time to do that one task. To prevent such things, I like to plan in buffers when I’m unsure how long a task will take.
The schedule adjustments happened regularly in these 7 days, but it will go down over time.
All in all
I found time blocking to be a productivity hack that keeps me on top of my schedule while getting things done! If you want to increase your productivity and deepen your focus, you should try it.