Time Block Planning My Workdays

📅 September 8, 2021
productivity


"What gets scheduled gets done.”

I have been applying time block planning consistently during the work day for the past couple of months, and I have not come across any other productivity "thing" that has provided more benefits. Time block planning involves scheduling blocks of time during the day for the stuff you need to do. It forces you to set an intention for each hour of your work day.

What I used to do

Before time block planning, I would make my decisions about what to do spontaneously. The thing about making decisions in the moment is your present self probably does not have as good of judgment as your past forward-thinking self. Present Ryan can be lazy and procrastinative. Forward-thinking Ryan is industrious and motivated.

How I do it

There are many ways you can time block plan. Some people time block plan their entire week. That method doesn't work best for me, as multiple things come up during the week that affect my workload.

I have recurring blocks of time that are consistent each day. These things include time block planning, checking email, lunch, growth/learning, getting away from the computer (walking, biking, etc.), picking up kids from school, and a shutdown ritual. All of my blocks are set to show as "Free/Available" to allow for others to schedule meetings if needed during those times. Initially, my schedule didn't include my recurring blocks. Adding those helped me stay consistent with my time block planning habit. It may have been because I had a place to start. The task of planning didn't seem so overwhelming seeing existing blocks already scheduled.

Below is an example of a day with some common recurring blocks.

Recurring Time Blocks

So I spend the first 10 minutes of the day giving each block of time an intention. My intentions are mainly sourced from Trello and my email inbox. I keep an organized list of tasks and projects on my Trello boards that will help me determine what to give my time to. I also receive emails with various asks of my time.

Below is an example of a completed time block plan. I picked a day without any meetings, but I usually have a meeting or two that would take up some blocks.

A Completed Time Block

Benefits

Since starting to do time block planning daily, I have noticed an increase in the amount and quality of work I can accomplish. I'm more focused. I know what I'm doing next because it is on my calendar staring at me. The things on my calendar have been prioritized and have had thought put into why they should be there.

Conclusion

Time block planning is something that provides immediate and tangible results. Initially, you may not be great at estimating the amount of time your blocks will take. I'm still not great at it, but I have noticed a definite improvement. Give it a try for a week and see how it works out for you!