Is work/life balance difficult week to week? Do you find yourself getting to the end of the day Friday having only completed half the tasks you planned? What if I told you a new time management system using only blocks of time could save you?
Continue reading for my complete guide on how to time block your whole week (in just 30 minutes), plus get an already made weekly template to start time blocking today.
If you want a PDF download of this post for $1, click here!
What is Time Blocking?
Time blocking, also known as calendar blocking, is a time management tool that helps you divide your day into, what we call, time blocks.
Each block designates a specific task or group of tasks. And only those specific tasks can be done in that block of time.
If you time block your days in advance, you won’t have to constantly decide what you need to focus on throughout the day. You’ll already have that planned out ahead of time.
Just follow your time blocked schedule. And if you find yourself getting off-task, just simple glance at your schedule and you’ll know exactly what you should be doing.
The Benefits of Time Blocking Your Weeks
Still not sure if time blocking is for you?
Here are some amazing benefits for time blocking your week:
1. Promotes focused work time
When you schedule a chunk of time to work on a particular project or task, your brain has an easier time concentrating on one thing. Hence less distraction and time wasted.
As you get the hang of time batching (another term for time blocking) your tasks, you’ll build the muscle memory required for more focused work time.
2. Makes you aware of how you spend your time
Believe it or not, most people aren’t that great at time management.
Human beings are terrible at estimating how much time we spend on different tasks. And we often think we have more time than we do.
As you get more comfortable time blocking your schedule, you’ll find yourself realizing some things take less time than you thought.
3. Helps You Follow Through on Your Goals
Many studies have shown that when people write down a specific place, date, and time for an activity, they are more likely to act on it fully.
Therefore, when you schedule tasks and goals, you’re more likely to follow through.
Time blocking allows you to make plans with yourself to ensure you are always working towards your goals.
Step-by-Step: How to Time Block Your Week
Now that we’ve talked about what time blocking is and the benefits, I’m gonna show you how to time block your week, one step at a time.
Also, be sure to grab the free weekly plan template so you can easily time block your week right inside google sheets.
1. Plug in your non-negotiables
These non-negotiables would be your work or class schedule, any upcoming appointments, and schedule activities, like club meetings, music rehearsals, or soccer practice.
Basically, anything that you must go to or else there will be consequences.
2. Add 6-8 hours of sleep every night
Everyone needs to sleep so don’t ditch out on it. Make sure you schedule at least 6-8 hours of sleep depending on how much you need.
3. Schedule meal times
As weird as it sounds, make sure you schedule your mealtimes. Sometimes when you’re so focused on a particular task you work straight through lunch. Don’t let that happen again.
*And if you really need to, set an alarm to make sure you stop working to eat and refuel.
4. Morning and evening routines
I’ve mentioned it many times before, but creating morning and evening routines are crucial for increased productivity.
You become more prepared for each day when you know exactly how you’re starting and ending it.
5. Self-care time
Another thing I’ve said quite often on this blog is: self-care time is important.
You need to refuel your mind, body, and soul or you wouldn’t be able to take care of anything else.
Take time to take care of yourself first. It’s not selfish!
*Check out my blog post on self-care activities for ideas on what to do during your self-care time,
6. Time block your goals and tasks
Now that all the essentials are scheduled you can break down your days into different focused work time blocks. Decide when you’re going to work on particular goals and for how long.
Break them up into blocks of time throughout your day.
Here’s an example of what a general week looks like for me when it’s time blocked.
This setup is the example I included in the google sheets template you can grab for free down below.
Some Common Time Blocking Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
Time blocking sounds pretty straightforward and for the most part, it is, but it can be hard to put into practice at first.
Here are some helpful tips to get started when learning how to time block:
Overestimate your time
You’ll get better at estimating how long it takes you to complete a particular task over time. But until you do, error on the side of blocking off too much time, rather than not enough.
Also including some “buffer time” or transition time in between tasks can help as well.
Don’t be too strict with your schedule
Things will come up and ruin your plans. That’s ok. Your time blocks are in place to help you focus your attention on particular tasks at a time. It’s not a binding contract.
It’s ok to edit your plans throughout the day if need be. Don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t always stick to the schedule.
Don’t over-schedule your leisure time
You do not need to schedule everything down to 5-10 minute increments.
In fact, scheduling your leisure activities can have a damping effect on the actual enjoyment of the activity.
Instead, block out the time that you plan to disconnect and relax. Don’t set how you are going to spend that time, let that come to you in the moment.
For example, I don’t plan my Saturdays and Sundays really at all, because those are my leisure days. Minus the time I plan to prep meals, do laundry or do my weekly reviews, I don’t strictly plan my weekends much at all.
Final Thoughts on Time Blocking
Scheduling your whole day or week in advance can seem like a waste of time. But when you don’t have control of your calendar, distractions can take over much easier.
By doing the decision-making ahead of time, you’ll save time and mental energy during the workweek. Therefore, being more productive.
Try time blocking a couple of days at first. Then come next Sunday, time block your whole week and see how it affects your overall productivity that week.
After the first week that you time block, it will become easier. Take 15-30 minutes every Sunday to adjust your time blocks for the coming week and ta-da! You have your entire week planned in no time.
Have any more questions about using time blocks? Let me know in the comments below.
*Hey college students!
I made a special blog post just for you guys on How to Time Block Your College Schedule. Go ahead check it out!
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If you want a PDF download of this post for $1, click here!
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