Managing your busy life isn’t easy. Juggling what you HAVE to do and what you WANT to do can be daunting at times especially now that our world is topsy turvy right now. Through the years I’ve learned, utilized, and honed many tips and tools on how to time block your day to get more done in less time.
(This post may contain affiliate links. What does that mean to you? Well, if you click on a product and make a purchase, I may receive some compensation at NO charge to you. If you want to read the boring stuff, my full disclosure can be found here.)
Whether you are working from home or are in the workforce, balancing your time can be quite a task.
Now that many of us are working from home with other family members and children present, time management is more important than ever.
Do you find yourself working from home now and need to learn how to schedule your day? CLICK HERE to find my best work from home scheduling tips.
Your to-do list might have shifted but is still growing. Fitting in homeschooling, work, and home life is a new territory for many of us.
We must take ownership of our time to keep normalcy in our lives.
Controlling our schedule using calendar blocking is a way to do that.
I don’t know about you but I’m ready to be more productive and feel accomplished at the end of the day…not just blankly staring at a very long list of to-dos feeling extremely overwhelmed because I dropped the ball on too many items.
Do you feel like me frustrated with a never-ending to-do list and find yourself wondering where your time went at the end of the day?
Let me show you the solution I have found to balance the chaos and schedule my time like the boss babe that I know I am!
While I’m facing new challenges and am working out the kinks of this new life of mine, I know I will remain productive by utilizing the time blocking method. By using your minutes productively, you will easily tackle the tasks you need to.
Time Blocking: What is it?
Time blocking is exactly what it sounds like, blocking segments of time and dedicating these segments to designated tasks. In a nutshell, time blocking is scheduling your day! Instead of having a list that makes you feel frazzled; you have a neat calendar with scheduled times for tasks.
Seriously, I CANNOT believe I had to discover this strategy by asking Google for “methods of time management”! This is essentially what I did in the corporate world daily – budget projection report due, block off four hours of uninterrupted closed office door time with a 30-minute break midway through to clear my mind and take a walk.
If you are looking for a great planner to help you with time blocking, try this great non-dated planner which will help increase your productivity and time management. It is great to use to implement the skills in this post.
Time Blocking vs To-Do list
Is Time Blocking better than a to-do list?
When you write a mile-long to-do list, are you being realistic with your time? Really? How can you get all of that done without a plan?
Let’s think about this…grab your latest to-do list or create a new one with all of the things you need or want to accomplish. Now sit back and really think about this list and think about your time.
Can you accomplish ALL of these tasks in ONE day? There are 1440 minutes in a day and not all of these minutes are useable (we must eat, sleep, and have personal time).
I usually carry over many items to my list for the next day and the next day – never feeling that complete sense of accomplishment.
But when I looked at my time realistically and organized the time, not the tasks, I felt a sense of accomplishment and benefited in so many ways…Big stress relief!
Instead of looking at the big pile of tasks, I prioritized and looked at segments that were manageable!
I can’t tell you the load this lifted from my shoulders. Prior to time blocking no matter how much I tackled from my list, my mind remembered and focused on what I didn’t complete!
Think about it…do you high-five yourself over all of the things you did in a day or do you think about the things you have yet to complete?Time blocking can alleviate some of this unneeded stress by knowing you have your time laid out and planned. Click To Tweet
When managing your to-do list, it is easy to over-commit. We look at our list and just add another item, figuring we will fit it in somehow.
When you use time blocking, you schedule your tasks and put them on your calendar or in your planner. You essentially force yourself to think of the task and how long it will take to complete it.
Using this method forces you to look at your plans realistically.
Block scheduling has caused me to take action instead of having a list of things I planned to get around to doing. I REALLY had a plan! I was making a commitment to myself to complete the task.
Time blocking is a plan of action.
I also find using the time blocking method helps to prevent my secret procrastinating side. Seriously! If I don’t have an action plan, I can be lazy!
I like to say that I work extremely well under pressure…but to be honest I am a procrastinator which has developed my ability to work under pressure. If a task is complicated or harder to complete; it is the last task I tackle…waiting until the last possible moment to take action.
Can you Time Block?
The simple answer is YES! But before you sit down with your calendar and fill in all of your minutes I want you to think about the little things that must happen in a day (eating, walking the dog, sitting in the school pickup line) and make sure you add these to your schedule.
And definitely, schedule in some “me time”!
We all need to take care of ourselves to continue to work at a high performance. If you just load up every minute of your day by copying your to-do list, you are really not time blocking…you are just making a list on a calendar.
How to Time Block
- Make a to-do list. Wait! What? Did I just say to make a to-do list after saying time blocking is better for you than a to-do list? Yes, I did! Even though you are shifting to a new time management system you will still need a list of daily tasks…You don’t want to forget anything. My to-do list is generally an open note on my phone that I ask Siri to add things to instead of using a pen to paper. Do whatever works best for you.
- Prioritize your time. Take a good look at your to-do list and prioritize it. Remember there are only so many hours in a day, so set your priorities and decide on your highest functioning times. Schedule your most demanding tasks during these times…so you are at your most productive. I am a morning person, so I fill up my mornings knowing that is when I am ready and willing to face anything! Estimate the time frame for each task and start plugging in the blocks into your calendar. Continue this process until you have blocked your day or week.
- Be flexible. “People’s biggest misconception with time-blocking their day is that the goal is to stick with the schedule no matter what,” says Georgetown University professor Cal Newport, author of Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World. Time blocking is not a set-in-stone type of time management. It is a method of organizing your day into time slots to help keep your focus and manage your time properly. Adjusting time will be necessary throughout the day to reflect the actual time spent on tasks.
If you would like to read more about simplifying your life, read my post 7 Effortless Tips to Simplify Your Life.
So if you are intrigued by this time management method, I hope you give it a try and share your feelings, comments, and other ideas below. I would love to hear from you!
As part of my website (www.motherbility.com), I regularly interview and write about successful mompreneuers. Almost every one of them time blocks. My own system is more informal, but I’ve been thinking about being more deliberate about it. Thanks for the inspiration and tips!
That is so great to hear! Thanks for stopping by! ~Jada
I was just mentioning this to my husband the other day…your article is spot on! It’s a great way to organize what gets done when and make sure the prioritization is in your own hands. Just make sure to schedule breaks to avoid burn out 🙂
You are absolutely right! You should always schedule breaks not only for your mental health but also your physical health!
This is, hands down, my greatest challenge. When I was working (Children’s librarian and Special Education teacher at a small international school in Ecuador), I was also finishing a Masters Degree, raising four children, supporting my husband in his role…and I did it all well. Now that I’m “just” a SAHM with one child being homeschooled, I feel like my time is rarely productive. Thank you for the detailed instructions on how to block time–I’ve heard of it, but the whole concept was “fuzzy.” I plan to sit down this afternoon and see if I can maybe get the rest of this week blocked out, at least. Do you block Saturday and Sunday too, or is this something you do for the weekdays and let the weekends be free? I know–I can do whatever I want to–but I need some sort of model to follow. (Actually what I need is a personal assistant and a house-elf, but I alas…)
Hi Cynthia! Right now I actually block Saturday and Sunday because I seem to work on those days too. I do try to keep it to a minimum, but with a growing blog, it’s hard to leave it alone for right now. Just do a little testing and see what works best for you. Keep me updated on your progress! xo ~ Jada
Cristina @SaturdayGift says
What a great post! I was nodding my head like yeah from the first paragraph on. Like you, I was also super organized and was able to juggle any amount of tasks when working in the corporate world. But now with the full-time blogging, it’s a totally different scenario. I love this method. Especially because you have to estimate how much time does some task take. And then you know how much is it even possible to achieve in one day or a week. And I also like that the schedule is not set in stone.
I love it too! I don’t know why I stopped using this type of method once I left the corporate world. Thanks for stopping by!
Ashley Reese says
Thank you for sharing this! I’m always looking for more ways to increase my productivity throughout the day! I’ll definitley be printing the printable and using these tips!
Thank you so much! Good luck! xo ~ Jada
Hailee Anderson says
This was so helpful, I’m a new mom and working full time so I feel like I’m constantly running around with no end in sight! I’ve already got the the Daily Plan printed out and cant wait to put it to good use!
We have all been there! I hope this helps. Keep me updated on your progress! xo ~ Jada
Linda Bizzak says
Great tips for getting more done, more efficiently. Blogging is a lot more work than I ever expected, too. Very helpful post!
I know! I never expected the “I work 4 hours per week and make a million dollars a year” scenario, but I never expected the amount of time I am putting in…but it is from home or wherever! Thank you so much for stopping by! Good luck in your journey! xo ~ Jada
I love this!
It makes so much sense to time block instead of just making a to do list. When I make a to do list most of it doesn’t get on…
I can’t wait to utilize this. Thank you for sharing! (:
Let me know how it goes when you time block! Thanks for stopping by! ~Jada
Very well through out post + helpful tips! Thank you! I need to put these into practice, especially with two little ones at home while I try and work 😉
Thank you for stopping by! ~Jada
Great tips! I’m definitely going to try time-blocking!
Great! Let me know how it goes! ~Jada
Natasha Chentille says
I’ve literally just started trying to implement this into my day. There are a lot of things that I have on my plate and I’ve just not been real productive lately. It could be that the summer time around the corner has got me feeling lazy. The to do list use to be my go to. I have to admit that I would feel it up, but I really thing (especially after reading this) that time blocking will help me be more productive after work and on the weekends.
Time blocking will help! It has been a lifesaver for me. xo ~Jada
Great tips, thanks for sharing!
Thank you for stopping by! ~Jada
Great tips especially for the newbie bloggers. I find I take longer doing posts than I should but mine is usually because I also still have a full-time job. Thanks for sharing.
I find writing takes much longer than it should at times too. I am hoping this will get easier. Thanks for stopping by! ~Jada
These are really good tips. I use time blocking at work to get my training in as well as you stated reports done.
Thank you so much! ~Jada
I love time blocking it helps so I don’t feel guilty about finishing something it gives me permission to stop work as if I had a 9-5 job and transition into being mom. There’s just something mentally that makes this work best for me. Great article.
Love this post! I’m going to try this soon!
Amy Keene says
I didn’t have the name for it but have been thinking I need to sit down and write out time blocks for my day so it doesn’t get away from me and I live this life I’ve dreamt of now that my youngest will be in school full time!!
Thanks for spelling it all out and giving such a thorough list of how to get started doing it!!
Great tips Jada. I’ve recently started implementing “time blocking” into my schedule. Had to! I have a full-time job, kids and my blog to work on so, planning out my time effetively is a necessity. One tool I also use for scheduling my time and to-do-list is Trello. Do you use it? I love it. It really clears your head of all your overwhelming tasks and you can just check them off as you do them. Anyway, Great post. Thanks for sharing!
I love Trello and use it daily! In fact, I have a post on how to use Trello.
Wow-just wow. I’m still rather fresh into my blogging journey and everything you listed that you are having to learn is exactly what I’m going through. And also like you- I had a corporate job and could wipe out my to-do list like nobody’s business- I was so organized with my time. When I started working from home- nope! All that went out the window. I need to do this time blocking- I truly want to be able to end my work day before 7pm for once-how good that would feel! Thank you for making this post so relatable-that is key for me when I’m looking for ways to improve my life.
I completely understand! Everything is so different when working from home.