Productivity continues to be a hot topic, especially as more and more people work remotely. Optimising your productity when working from home can be just as difficult as when working in the office. We’ve covered a number of productivity techniques and apps on our blog. But what role can time blocking play in helping you to accomplish this?
What is Time Blocking?
In simple terms, time blocking (which is a term that may also be used interchangeably with time boxing, task batching and day theming), refers to a simple yet effective way of assuming control of your daily work schedule.
More specifically, it’s a time management technique that asks you to divide your working day into individual blocks of time, each of which is dedicated to completing a specific task.
This ensures that you don’t simply maintain an open-ended to-do list of things that you’ll accomplish as and when you’re able, which can create a chaotic schedule and make it increasingly hard to organise your time.
Can Time Blocking Really Make You More Productive?
Because time blocking has been designed to help you accomplish so-called “busy work”, it helps you to optimise your productivity and afford as much time as possible to the tasks that are the most important.
However, its level of effectiveness depends on your own personal circumstances, particularly the nature of your job role and daily work schedule.
For example, if you have a broad job description that covers numerous projects and responsibilities, the amount of busy work that you have to undertake is likely to increase significantly. The same is true if you deal with a large number of emails each day, or spend the majority of your time attending meetings.
In each of these instances, time blocking can be highly effective, by increasing the amount of time that you can spend on core tasks and optimising your productivity in the process.
A Brief Guide to Time Blocking – How to Make it Work for You
Time Blocking is all about assigning blocks of time, or time slots to a specific task or project.
So insted of a typical To Do list, with let’s say 5 tasks, you would have something like this:
09.00 to 10.30 – review weekly goals
10.30 – 11.00 – answering emails
13.00 – 15.00 – editing next YouTube video
As you can see above, we’re using time slots rather than a priority order or a simple list. The whole idea is to dedicate specific slots of time (in your day) to specific tasks you want to complete.
Time blocking can be used together with the Pomodoro Technique, which utilises a timer to break down work into intensive 25-minute intervals (separated by five-minute breaks).
But how do you make time blocking work for you? Well, the key is to organise and prioritise your task list in advance, creating an upfront work schedule for the next week or so.
This way, you can make clearly defined choices about what tasks to focus on and how much time you attribute to each one, while relying on your schedule to guide you through each working day and making time for that pesky busy work.
It’s also key to regularly take stock of your workload and conduct a comprehensive weekly review, as you may need to adjust your timings or add new tasks depending on their urgency.
We’d also recommend undertaking smaller reviews at the end of every workday, so that you can reschedule tasks that you were unable to finish and allocate time to those that have been organised at short notice.