What is time blocking? Well it's an effective way of using time wisely to achieve the most out of your day. It also gives you less time to get distracted or procrastinate. You schedule your day in time slots and focus solely on one task for that certain time period. Once the time is up you move on to the next thing.
Think back to your school days. You had a timetable, did Math for 45 minutes, studied English for 45 minutes, took a break, had Science for 45 minutes and so on. It worked! You were focused and in the moment for that period of time. Granted I'm sure some of your teachers would say differently but for the most part your attention was on that subject. Now it's time to do the same at work, at home and within your daily life.
Begin by auditing your time for a week. A bit like a time diary, you write down what you have spent the 24 hours of each day doing. You may look back in horror. There are 168 hours in a week. So you spend 40-50 hours a week working, 56-60 hours sleeping, how do you spend the other 58+ hours?
Without even noticing we spend hours browsing online, refreshing Pinterest like its our job, stalking our ex's on Facebook or looking at pretty pictures on Instagram. Shopping online when in actual fact you'd be quicker driving to the store, getting the item and going home again. Watching the latest Netflix series, while it may be relaxing it isn't actually adding anything to your daily life. We're certainly not saying you can't binge watch your favourite show every now and again but alot of this time can be used far more efficiently. So lets begin!
Once you have seen where you spend most of your time and you've recovered from the shock of how many hours a week you are glued to social media then you're ready to prioritise.
What needs to get done today? What's the most important task to you? How long is that particular task going to take?
Write a detailed list of your tasks for the day. Then write the projected time period it's going to take to complete. Stick to it! Set an alarm on your phone, once the alarm goes off you move on to the next thing.
So to begin:
1- Identify your priority
Determine the tasks need to be completed first and work on them. For example, if you have a project due next week and an interview tomorrow prepare for the interview now, it's more imminent and needs your focus now!
2- Block time for specific tasks
Break tasks down into chunks that can be completed in smaller time periods. Set a goal to finish the task within that allowed time. For example, doing laundry takes 5-10 minutes, don't assign 30 minutes for small tasks and likewise writing your resume might take two hours, so give it two hours. It's not a 20 minute task!
3- Schedule breaks
Regular breaks contribute to a more focused mind. Concentrate on a task for an hour or two. Then stop and take a break, get up from your desk move from the area you're in, stretch your legs, get some air and come back revived.
4- Eliminate unproductive time consuming activities
Devote your full attention to the task at hand. Avoid aimlessly checking emails and refreshing your inbox. Check your phone on your break, not every 10 minutes while trying to be productive.
So lets be productive for the year ahead. Leave a comment below if you have any other tips on how you focus your time and attention on certain tasks.