This post has strategies I’ve been wanting to share for so long! I’m really excited to share this Time Blocking Guide. When I was first introduced to time blocking, this is the guide I wish I had, and now I’m sharing what I’ve learnt with you. Looking for more? Check out my Ultimate Time Blocking Guide & Workbook.
Time Blocking Guide
This guide is going to be fairly comprehensive, so feel free to skim the headings and jump to a section that scratches the itch of what you are looking for.
Although this is an in-depth guide, I have even more I want to share with you + some printables to make this easier. You can purchase the E-Book version of this guide, with some additional comprehensive content, plus a workbook with printables for each step of the process, here!
Let’s Jump In..
Time Blocking: Before You Get Started
What is Time Blocking?
In short, time blocking is a way of scheduling that allows you to block your tasks (or time) in a way that increases your productivity. Instead of juggling a million tasks, you schedule when you will focus on each task. Yes, time blocking is simply taking your to-do list and applying it to your schedule, in blocks of time.
Why Should I Time Block?
Like I’ve mentioned above, and as I will continue to mention in this article, time blocking is a lifesaver to your productivity. If you are constantly feeling like you can’t get everything done in a day, and you’re endlessly jumping from task to task, you need to try time blocking. Time blocking blows the notion that you can successfully multi-task out of the water. By streamlining your to-do list your productivity will thank you. Seriously.
I run a blog, Etsy shop, work a full-time job, take online classes, and maintain healthy relationships all because of time blocking. If I was trying to do all of these things at once, my world might implode. Time blocking allows me to schedule each of these commitments into my day, and get everything done that I want to get done.
Interested in seeing the results for yourself? Keep reading:
Taking an Inventory
Track How You Spend Your Time
If you already know where you are spending your time, you can skip this step. However, if you’ve kind of been floating through life, not really sure what your commitments are, or how long certain things take you, this is a valuable step.
There are a bunch of different ways you can track your time, however, I would typically recommend an app for this step as it is a bit easier to manage and get an accurate picture. There are lots of different apps you can use to track this. If you have an apple device you are probably already getting weekly reports for your screen time, which will likely account for a good chunk of how you spend your time.
If this is new to you, I would recommend tracking how you spend your time for a full 7 days, before moving on.
Do a Brain Dump
Once you’ve got a physical (or mental) report of how you spend your time, I want you to do a brain dump. Sit down with a sheet of paper and write down every single task you do. Think daily, weekly, monthly, and even yearly. Write down everything. You want to have a record of every single thing you are responsible for, or that you have been spending your time doing. Depending on your workload, this should take you at least 30 minutes. I also suggest to leave the paper for a little bit and come back to it, as you may remember things you had forgotten the first time around.
Organize Your Thoughts
Next, I want you to take your piece (or pieces) of paper from your brain dump. That paper holds everything you need to get done, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Now it’s time to organize it. If you’re a fan of colour coding, this is a great time to utilize it.
I suggest writing everything on your list out on lined paper, with one task on each line. Done? Let’s keep going.
Next, you want to go through the list, and note the frequency for each task. Is that item on your list something that has to be done daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, or some other frequency? Make a note of that however you like. For example, you could use colours, or letters: D/W/M/Y/O.
Now, beside the task frequency, you’ll want to note how long the task takes you. Be real with yourself.
For example, you could have:
Sleep | Daily | 8 Hours
Gym | 2x/Weekly | 2 Hours
The next step is to glance through your list of tasks, all of these things that demand your attention every week. Now is the time to get rid of the tasks that you should not be doing.
Is there anything you can outsource? Anything that doesn’t require your involvement? For example, if you have grocery shopping on your list, but it usually takes you 3 hours a week for one reason or another (valuable time), can you instead pay to have your groceries delivered?
Now that you have listed each task, with the frequency and time it takes you, I want you to roughly categorize them. You don’t need to be super stringent, but some loose categories will be beneficial in the long run. For example, you can lump doing the dishes with making your bed under a broader category of household management. Or writing a blog post, and emailing your list, would be under a category of blog tasks.
If you need more help with this step with category examples or want a worksheet/guideline to follow, I’d suggest checking out the Ultimate Time Blocking/Batching Guide & Workbook. You’ll also learn my secret bonus step to Time Blocking that helps me streamline my planning.
Putting It In Motion
Wow, you’re almost there! Now that you have all of your tasks written out, you can start to block them into your calendar to begin to productively get things done. You can use any calendar, but you’ll typically want a calendar that is at least broken down into hours, for a truer look at your schedule.
First, I want you to block in the things that must get done. This will include tasks like sleeping, eating, and working.
Next, block in the things that you want to get done. This might include tasks like going to the gym, meeting a friend for coffee, or working on your side hustle.
Finally, schedule the things you would like to get done. This would likely include your hobbies and other things you like to do for fun.
Need more help in this step? Check out my detailed Ultimate Time Blocking Guide + Workbook! I will walk you through 3 different mediums to effectively time block, with step by step pictures to get it all organized.
Wrapping It Up
You’ve done it! You have time blocked your week, so go forth and conquer.
There are a couple of things to remember:
- Tasks/projects typically take longer than you think they will – be aware of this while scheduling.
- Be patient with yourself – you won’t nail it the first week. Be flexible, and be open to moving things around. You know yourself best, so don’t overwhelm your schedule. Schedule time for self-care. Schedule time to get nothing done.
- White space is okay – not every second needs to be scheduled. In fact, having buffers in your schedule is important because life happens sometimes.
Congrats on making it to the end of this guide!
Hungry for more time blocking tips and strategies? Check out my Ultimate Time Blocking/Batching Guide & Workbook for a complete step by step guide to time blocking. You’ll not only see detailed examples each step of the way, but you will receive ___ printables to help you master your most productive week yet.