You’ve set your goals for the year, and you are trying and start your morning off on the right foot, but do you still find yourself with a long list of to-do’s at the end of the workday? Do you feel like you’re just not getting enough done, yet are constantly working? Well many of us have felt this frustration. With the post-its piling up and work-life balance nowhere in sight, we needed a solution. So we began doing some research and trying out different methods until we came across a little magic.
Life Hack: Can Time Blocking Change Your Life?
Taking ownership of your time is truly a powerful thing.
What exactly is time blocking?
You set aside specific blocks of time to complete daily tasks. The key word here is specific*** meaning you are not just sitting there with a to-do list for x amount of hours.
You have a specified amount of time for each task and in that time block, you only work on that specific task.
In today’s world where our phones are constantly busy and inboxes seem to be always overflowing, focused work seems nearly impossible. But did you know one thing that most successful people have in common? THEY DO NOT MULTITASK. I repeat, THEY DO NOT MULTITASK. Multitasking has been said to be the death of productivity.
But, if you said this to most people in a workplace today, they’d think you were crazy. But when you really think about it, if you’re only focused on ONE THING At A TIME you can really get a lot more done.
Alright so we’ve discussed just what it is, and why it works but what exactly does it look like and where do we begin?
Get Rid of Distractions:
Before you realize it, you’ll spend all day putting out fires instead of focusing on your real goals. The seemingly urgent email or the pile of papers sitting on your desk or the laundry staring at you suddenly dominate your schedule. You sit down to begin working, but then you take care of that distraction and then another one and another one and suddenly it’s 5 o’clock.
When you begin time blocking though you set aside time for these distractions to be handled. You may notice an urgent email come in, but you know you have set aside time later for answering emails. No need for anxiety here. Plus if that email is all that urgent wouldn’t they simply call? Exactly, we think so too.
We also suggest turning your phone on airplane mode or “do not disturb” and turning the wireless off on your computer during the first 90 minutes of focused work or really all time blocks for which it is not necessary to have it on. You’ll be amazed at how much more you get done and how long it is before you even notice you did this.
Schedule Time For Tasks and Reactive Work:
We want to spend the majority of our days on proactive tasks; meaning things we are truly excited and focused on that build us up to reaching our goals.
But everyone has emails to answer, laundry to do and people to get back with. Instead of wasting your time and energy towards having anxiety about getting back to everyone or getting too caught up in it that you don’t do anything for yourself.
Set aside specific blocks for these things and only spend the exact amount of time you allotted for doing them. That means if you set aside time for emails and it’s one hour you are forced to prioritize whom to respond to and then just quit and move on to the next block. It is no longer a whole day or something hanging over your head.
Schedule Time For Self Care:
You may remember our Fitness and Food agenda, we specifically designed to force you to consider scheduling time each day for a little self-care and with time blocking in mind.
When you time block you already have time set aside for getting to the gym or that yoga class. So you aren’t getting to the end of your day tired and armed with 20 excuses for why you just can’t.
You can also schedule time for meal prep and a snack. You can even schedule time for meal planning and for cleaning out your fridge.
Time blocking also allows you to schedule time for short breaks. Take a walk, or really do anything for just short a 15 minutes to get away from your desk. Mental breaks are just as important to productivity as focused work is.
PHOTO: The Skinny Confidential
Tricks To Getting Started:
Schedule the hardest thing to get done first, everything seems like cake after that.
Google calendar is pure magic, you can download the app on your phone too and it will sink with your computer. You can also color code your tasks and set reminders, it really helps us to see our days visually laid out this way.
Use timers. You can use your kitchen timer or Amazon even has these amazing The Miracle Cube Timers. They have specific times on them and you simply flip the cube to the amount of time you want to spend on your task.
Stop working on the task even if it is not complete in the time frame. This is difficult at first, but this allows you to get much more done and for better work. When you leave a task for some time when you come back to it with fresh eyes you are able to better edit and complete it.