If you want to try time blocking, you have come to the right place! In this post, I explain what time blocking means and how it can benefit your life. I published this post in the summer of 2016, which was the year when I started time blocking using the Day Designer planner. I have also used the Living Well Planner, which is fantastic to time block each day, with a weekly spread view in two pages. Lastly, I also designed our own time-blocking template. You can find it in our online store.
Looking back at the week we had (our first week back to school), I see it went smoothly! I noticed that my planning tools are working hard for me. So, I wanted to share my thoughts on managing my time better with the time blocking method. I feel relaxed and energized at 6:00 in the afternoon on a Friday. I also could not have ended my work week on a higher note, writing from my vintage secretary’s desk.
What is the Time Blocking Method?
I am a pen-to-paper gal; there’s no doubt about that. I have a photographic memory, and writing things down gives me a sense of organization that no app in the world can give me.
The Day Designer is beautiful, colorful, sturdy, and well-designed. And if you know me by now, you know that I can’t resist any notebook, paper, or binder designed with pretty colors. But, what makes this planner really awesome and worth the price is that you can design your day by the hour.
With that said, I have explained to you what time blocking means! So basically, I plan my days by the hour, as follows. This is a random example of a day in my life.
Time Blocking Tuesday, August 16, 2016
- 8:00 am – Check, address, and reply to emails.
- 9:00 – 11:00 am – Process Etsy orders
- 11:00 – 1:00 pm – Blog planning
- 1:00 – 2:00 pm – Lunch / School pick-up
- 2:00 – 4:00 pm – Housework, homework, and meal prep
- 4:00 pm – Karate
- 5:00 pm – Grocery run
- 6:00 pm – Dinner and Wind-down
By using the time blocking method, I have a ‘visual’ of my pending tasks, and by writing them down and scheduling them, I give myself a ‘sneak peek’ at what my day will be like. I can certainly say YES or NO to new tasks or commitments that may arise.
Planning The Month Ahead
The Day Designer -like many other planners- has a monthly spread. Appointments, meetings, and important dates and events that I can put on schedule far in advance go in that monthly spread. Things like: my FaceTime meetings for the Elite Blog Academy, my son’s weekly swim lessons (while keeping a log of payments), vacation, etc.
Wondering how far in advance I plan my days? You will be surprised when I say I plan one day at a time. I usually plan the night before or even that same day around 6:30 a.m. or 7:00 a.m. Morning planning is better when the house is quiet, and I have a clear mind and a coffee cup in hand.
Let’s get real; I can only be so organized. Life throws all kinds of curved balls at you each day, so I give myself some grace and leave room for the unexpected. Like today, I spent two extra hours of my day
- driving to 3 different post offices to find a particular flat rate box,
- an unexpected stop at the church to pick up some paperwork,
- and driving back to the school after picking up my son because he left his lunch box on the bench.
While the time blocking method may sound a little strict and picky for some, it is a great way to help you keep track (or a log) of things you did in the past and things you will be doing in the future. Not to mention, it’s great to help you meet your deadlines while avoiding procrastination.
Setting Your Daily Goals
Now, I am only human, and I admit that not everything I write down I accomplish in the allotted time. I often run one hour or two behind my planned schedule, and that’s OK. On many other days, I don’t accomplish some of my planned tasks at all. But that only pushes me to move a little faster next time.
What is important here is the fact that I have my tasks and to-do’s written down. That is a great start. It’s a visual reminder, and I know that sooner or later, I will get to them.
If I don’t get around to accomplishing a particular task, then I realize that it wasn’t that important and/or urgent, meaning I prioritized what really was. That’s being productive and efficient.
To quickly identify your daily priorities, there is room (in the upper left of each page) to write ‘Today’s Top Three.’ This is a great feature because it helps you refine your daily tasks down to your three most important ones. Those tasks that you know you must complete, achieve, or even get started on that day!
Get Your Time Blocking Template
I took a long break from time blocking during the pandemic. Now that things re normalized, I designed our very own time blocking template. You can learn how it works, and if you think it’s the right thing for you, you can purchase it here.
So, what do you think? Have you ever tried the time blocking method to plan your days? Does it work for you?