Have you ever felt totally overwhelmed with your schedule? Have you ever felt like you just can’t accomplish the things that you would like? Have you ever felt like you couldn’t keep up with kids, family, work, home? Welllll, I have an awesome little trick for you that is AMAZING!! It’s called Time Blocking!
I’m going to have to say that using a time block schedule planner has totally changed my life, and has helped me in so many ways. Because I HAVE felt like the overwhelmed person who couldn’t keep up.
What is a time block schedule and how does it work?
Time blocking is an easy-to-use system that takes all that you need to accomplish in a day or a certain amount of time and divides it into doable, bite-sized sections or “blocks”. Your day is completely scheduled out hour by hour. Don’t worry, it doesn’t mean you’re working like a crazy person all hours of the day.
Let’s say that every morning you know that you are working out from 6:30-7:30. You would “block out” that time of day every morning M-F for your exercise schedule. Then say you need time for showering and getting kids out the door for school. Your time would be blocked out every day for that. Maybe your kids have soccer every Tuesday and Thursday at 4:30 pm. You would block out the time for that in your schedule.
Creating a time block schedule gets rid of that feeling of not knowing what to do next. It helps to stop you from wasting time doing tasks that are not as important, or taking too much time on one project. Each task has a time and a place and you’re not wasting time by trying to figure out how to accomplish everything at once.
We all need to be productive, right? But who doesn’t want a little free time to relax? That’s why time blocking is so amazing because it allows for both! By using a time block schedule planner, you are able to focus on increased productivity, but still give yourself that extra screen time without feeling guilty (because it’s on your schedule, yay :D).
What are the benefits of time blocking?
Creating my own time block schedule has really taken a lot of stress off of my shoulders. It has helped me with my time management, which I felt like I was so out of control with before. It’s also increased my productivity…by a lot. Here are the ways that you can benefit as well.
#1 Everything has a time and a place
By placing certain tasks within their allotted time slot and placing like items together, you are making it easier to cinch up your time and SIMPLIFY your schedule. No more trying to switch your brain from cleaning mode to working mode, and back again.
#2 Helps you to focus on what’s most important
This gives you the chance to see those tasks that need to be completed first allowing you to accomplish top priorities.
#3 Gives you a guide for the week
You no longer need to wonder what your schedule is going to be like, and it’s super easy to plug things in where necessary.
#4 You are in control of how you spend your time
You have a plan, it’s easy to keep with you (more on that later), and if something doesn’t work for that week, you aren’t going to overbook yourself. Set a timer for your allotted block of time, once it goes off you’re ready for the next task.
#5 Increases productivity
Not only does time blocking help with time management, but you will be able to continuously learn how much time certain tasks take to complete.
#6 Reduces procrastination and distractions
No more accidentally scrolling Instagram for longer than you had intended.
#7 Promotes deep work & efficiency
I have found that I am able to be more intentional in the time that I have, allowing for complete focus on that one task. All other tasks fall away in that moment, allowing me to concentrate and not worry about anything else. It also helps me to keep things within the time frame allowed.
#8 Gets rid of the folly of multitasking
Yep, you heard me right. We all think of multitasking as a benefit, but it’s not, really. Data has shown that it takes us 25 minutes to really get efficient in one task. If we are constantly switching back and forth in our tasks…well, let’s just say we’re not going to get much done.
#9 It can reduce stress
When we have large tasks to complete and no idea as to how we are going to accomplish them, those tasks can become daunting. This causes stress whether we realize it or not. A good time block template will give us a road map to completing those projects, relieving much of the anxiety that can come with so much to do.
#10 Helps you to accomplish your goals
We all have goals, but there always has to be some sort of plan to be able to make it through them, right? Time blocking is a fabulous way to finally get to those dreams and plans and make them happen!
How you can succeed (and why I almost didn’t).
I am a mom who really wants to be organized, and in lots of ways, I am. Unfortunately, that does not always happen. Life gets in the way, or the not-so-organized part of me takes over, and then before I know it I feel like I’m failing. Or I just let myself get so overwhelmed that I basically shut down and don’t know what thing I should work on next. Which is not what we want, right? Well, I figured it out, and I am SO happy that I did. The good news? You can be ultra-productive too (YAY!).
The most important part of time blocking is to make it work for YOU and YOUR personality, habits, etc. Not your neighbor Sally, or like the amazing schedule you found on Pinterest. You don’t need to change who you are to be more productive, just change the way you do things. Make sense?
The biggest mistake that I made when I started my own time block schedule was that I had too many restrictions on myself. I had absolutely every minute of my day & week mapped out. And you know what? I FAILED. Miserably. It made me feel bad because I really, really wanted (and needed) that structure. And even though it was constantly in the back of my mind, I actually gave up for a while.
I finally got to a point of overwhelm where I felt like I just couldn’t accomplish any one thing. I was jumping from task to task and, just not really getting anything done. Worse, I didn’t know which tasks were more important.
This is where I decided that I needed to try a time block schedule one more time. I realized that this time I had to allow space for my own habits and ways of doing things, and it was OKAY if I messed up, or if a day didn’t go exactly as planned.
What is batch scheduling, and why is it a good thing?
By grouping similar tasks together into your blocks, you are able to work more efficiently. How? You’re eliminating the problem of having to refocus your brain on new, unrelated tasks. Your project momentum is already going, might as well continue. No more squirrels!
So how can you make your own successful block schedule?
#1 To start your own block plan, simply brainstorm a list of Important things that you need to accomplish (chores, Work, etc.), then start another list of routines that need to happen every day (exercise, time to shower and get ready, kids out the door for school, meal prep, appointments, etc.).
#2 Take some time to think of ALL the things. And really, this will be a work in progress, so allow yourself to go back and make changes. Start with the basics and work your way down through the details.
#3 Think of how you normally function in a day. Analyze your habits and personality. If you REALLY love your showers, then GIVE yourself that time. No reason to punish yourself with this schedule. That’s not what it’s for. Try to create a system that is still allowing you to be you, but in a more efficient form.
#4 Give yourself time. Time for house cleaning projects you want to get to, time for appointments, time for extracurricular activities, time to plan, time to work, time to read, time for projects, and even screen time. Make sure to place similar tasks together in one block wherever possible.
#5 Put it all together. Go through each day of the week, and add your time blocks. If you need an hour (or 15 minutes) to exercise in the morning, add it in. If Tuesdays are your best day for appointments, then give yourself a couple of hours every Tuesday for scheduling appointments.
#6 Add timers to your phone to help you get through those tasks. I’m a visual person. I have to have my whole time block calendar in a visible place so that I can easily see my whole schedule at once. But I also like to have it with me at all times. So I not only use my magnetic Time Block Schedule Planner (which is super easy to make changes to because it’s dry erase), but I also use Google Calendar on my phone so that I always have it with me. I like Google Calendar because it alerts me for each of my time blocks, and if I’m not at home and need to schedule something, I have access to my schedule.
#7 Re-evaluate. After a week or so of using your new schedule (or any time really) make necessary changes. If something isn’t working, change it. It’s OKAY to fail. It’s how we learn. If you forgot to add something in, then add it. It’s ok and good to constantly be making changes to your schedule until you find one that functions well for you.
Each Sunday evening I sit down and plan out my week. I make sure meals are planned with my handy little Magnetic Menu Planning Notepad and that anything important for the week is added into my time block. I make sure that I know which are my top 3 priorities, and put them into the proper time slot.
Go Get ‘Em!!
I hope that you are way excited to try time blocking! I know that it can work for you just as it has worked for me. You will have that “too much to do” weight taken off of your shoulders (ahem, can we say no more overwhelm?), all while learning better time management skills. Grab your own Magnetic Dry Erase Time Block Calendar and start today!
Tell us below, have you tried time blocking? What did or didn’t work for you? Tell us your success stories!