If you feel like there’s never enough time to get everything done in your week, block scheduling might be the answer for you! Between meetings, chats with coworkers, and last-minute tasks on top of your typical responsibilities, it makes sense that time seems to escape us. And if you work from home, it is all too easy to get distracted by pets, family members, and the cute dog walking outside your window. Unfortunately, these little distractions consume so much of our time that it’s easy to feel like there’s not enough time in the week to meet all your deadlines.
This is where block scheduling comes to the rescue. Figuring out how to structure your block schedule can take a lot of tinkering, but once you figure it out, you’ll find some free time in your day!
The first thing you need to do when structuring your block schedule is to review your current schedule (if you even have one). Figure out how much time each of your daily tasks take you, whether you estimate the times or time yourself for a few days to see how long they take you. Make sure to take note of everything you need to do, even if it’s just checking your email for 10 minutes.
Once you know how much time everything takes you, it’s time to start arranging your daily time blocks. For example, my days look like this:
9:00 – 9:30 am: Check emails and slack messages
9:30 – 10:20 am: Check accounts
10:20 – 10:30 am: Mental health break
10:30 – 11:30 am: Client A Focus Time
11:30 am-12:00 pm: Lunch
12:00 – 12:30 pm: Schedule out content
12:30 – 1:00 pm: Reserved for miscellaneous tasks
1:00 – 2:00 pm: Client B Focus Time
2:00 – 2:15pm: Mental Health Break
2:15 – 2:45pm: Check accounts
2:45 – 3:00 pm: Check emails, close out tasks for the day
Now there are days that I need to move things around for meetings or because I’m feeling a little unmotivated that day, but the basic structure is still there. All my time blocks overestimate the time I need for those tasks by 5-15 minutes to plan for those little distractions that inevitably pop up.
The important thing is to build your block schedule to fit your needs and how you work best. For example, if you often only feel creative in the afternoons, schedule all your creative tasks in the afternoons. If you need to take more breaks or schedule some “office hours” for your coworkers to meet with you, be sure to build that into your block schedule. Make your block schedule work for you, and don’t be afraid to change it to fit your needs after you’ve started using it.
Sticking to your schedule can be the most challenging part, but I have a few tips to make it easier.
- My first tip is to set up your block schedule in your calendar. If your coworkers can schedule time on your calendar, ensure that your breaks and focus times are marked as busy so they don’t get scheduled over. When you put in your time blocks, have your calendar send you a notification when the time blocks start so that you don’t fall behind.
- My second tip is not to fill your entire day with essential time blocks. Instead, leave time for breaks, last-minute tasks, and empty time to accommodate meetings and anything else that may come up.
- My third tip is to understand that it’s YOUR schedule. You can change it, move things around; you can do whatever you want with it. It’s flexible because it’s yours and it should work for you. If there’s a meeting that you have to attend, but it’ll mess up your schedule, change your plan. Don’t cut down any of your blocks if you don’t need to; move them around. If some things need to move to another day, move them. Don’t stress over it; it’s supposed to help you.
- Lastly, stick to it! If you finish a task earlier than you should, reward yourself with a break or tackle another small task that isn’t accounted for in your schedule. Don’t jump-start on your next time block, or the whole schedule has no purpose.
It’s possible that block scheduling won’t work for you, but it’s worth a try to improve your productivity and give your days some structure.
Social Media Manager