In an effort to improve their productivity, a lot of people have implemented to-do lists as part of their daily routine. Yet having a list of tasks that need to be done seems to not be enough.
Sometimes, even if you have such a list, you may be wandering around aimlessly, overwhelmed by the sheer amount of items still unchecked. What is the best way to approach this problem?
One method that people have had success with is called time blocking. Let’s see how this is done.
What is Time Blocking?
Time blocking is the practice of allocating blocks of time to work on tasks. Each chunk should be dedicated to a single task. This maximizes your productivity by minimizing wasted time switching between tasks.
How to Employ Time Blocking?
1. Identify Tasks
First of all, you should identify every task that needs to be done on your work day, or anywhere else, if you’re using this for purposes other than work.
Don’t forget to include time for planning and preparation activities, as well as repetitive tasks like checking your e-mail or writing a weekly report.
2. Allocate Time for Each Task
This is one of the key things that makes this method work so well. For example, you may get lost in preparation for a task instead of actually starting on it. It could be downloading all the articles and resources you could possibly need, or installing some helpful tools on your computer.
These are also signs of procrastination. The thought of actually starting a task is intimidating, so we do all these other things that make us feel productive when ultimately we have accomplished nothing by doing them.
By allocating appropriate times for planning and for task execution, we are acknowledging that preparation tasks are part of the process, but giving them the importance that they have, and not more.
3. Prioritize Time Blocks
Now it is time to sort these time blocks according to their priorities. If you are extremely disciplined, you can leave the most important tasks of the day to the time when your brain is more productive. However, this may not work for many people.
When in doubt, it is best to just put the most important tasks first and do them before anything else, at the start of your workday. Of course, the respective planning task can accompany it.
The other tasks may follow by order of importance. Short tasks like e-mail checking may appear several times during the day, but don’t overdo it.
You can use some resources to help you implement this method. For example, the BubblesPlanner app for smartphones allows you to create tasks, sort them by priority and even estimate efforts for every individual task. It should work like a charm for time blocking!