This year I’ve been trying to stay focused. It’s been going ok, except for wh…SQUIRREL!!!
Ok, clearly I still need work. But, one tool that actually has been super helpful is Time Blocking. Queue all the Elon Musk fanboys because this is a tactic that Elon apparently uses daily. Time blocking is pretty much scheduling out your full day in blocks (See? Pretty self explanatory). You plan out your day in 15, 30 or even 60 minute increments and stick with what you have scheduled.
I’ve tried it for several days this year and have found it to be pretty darn useful. 2021 has been extremely busy for me thus far as I’m balancing work (my 9-5 job as a software trainer), Farm Traveler podcast duties, the new side gig as a reporter for the Southeast Regional Ag update, AND starting my masters degree from FSU. Instead of just working on projects as they show up on my schedule or mindlessly going from one project to the next, time blocking enables me to plan and organize each day and the tasks that need to be completed. For example, I’m only checking emails once every few hours instead of every few minutes. I’m planning out interviews during my lunch break at work.
At first glance it seems a bit restrictive to plan out every hour in the work day, but as someone said (I can’t remember who said it but it might have been Thomas Frank from YouTube), “Freedom lies in your structure.” By planning out your day, you actually have freedom. Freedom to focus on projects and tasks when you have set them to be worked on. No more spiritic working. No more jumping from task to task.
So how do you do it?
Simple. The day before or even Sunday night before your work week starts, take about 5 – 10 minutes to plan out your next day. Think about what you need to accomplish and which projects need to be completed first. And here is the tricky part: Stick to the schedule! Try to stick with the scheduled times and their tasks. The first few days, as I found out, you might need to adjust the times for some tasks and that’s totally fine. Find out what works for you! You can time block on a calendar, journal, app, or whatever works for you. I’ve just been using Google Calendar to schedule my day. It’s free and because I have the app on my phone, it sends me notifications a few minutes before each task. There are also tools like ToDoist which I highly recommend. It’s a task list app as well as website.
For another great breakdown on Time Blocking, check out Rescue Time’s blog post here.
I’ve found time blocking immensely helpful. I hope you do too.
So let me know what you think!
Will you give time blocking a try? Or do you already use it? Or maybe you use another too. If so, what is it?
Let me know! I’ll add a time block to read the comments. 😀