Many of us have heard the popular adage, "You have as many hours in a day as Beyoncé." However, between chasing dreams, securing the bag, and living your best life, maintaining a productive and balanced schedule can be a downright challenge. In a world of meetings, deadlines, and endless emails, it can be difficult to utilize your working hours in the most efficient way. To make the most of your to-do list, try a technique called calendar blocking (also known as time blocking).
Calendar blocking is a simple, yet effective productivity method that helps to organize your daily schedule.
This time management tool includes taking each of your tasks and purposefully scheduling or "blocking" them on your calendar for a set period of time. Calendar blocking was not only designed to increase your focus, it also helps to hinder any nagging distractions and helps to take your daily organization to the next level.
The beauty of calendar blocking is that it can work for anyone, from a boss businesswoman to a stay-at-home mom. The value of blocking your time is that it helps to build your day around important priorities, and by scheduling your time in advance, you're able to avoid non-priorities, decreasing stress and anxiety. Are you ready to master the art of calendar blocking?
If so, here's an easy step-by-step process that will help you maximize each moment of your day:
1. Evaluate Your Energy Level
Focus on when your energy levels are the highest. Are you more of a morning person or more of a night owl? Do your creative juices flow most in the afternoon? Understand your physical and mental energy levels and then structure your day around your tasks and your time. Recognizing your performance capacity will help to build self-awareness and efficiency in your work.
2. Free Your Mind
Like many of us, there are probably a million and one things whirling around in your mind. According to studies, the average human tends to have 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts a day. That's a lot to think about!
Grab a pen and a sheet of paper–it's time to go old-school. Get your thoughts in order by writing them down. This includes routine items such as meetings and deadlines as well as future projects and plans. It's equally important to pencil in your daily rituals such as morning prayer or meditation, an afternoon workout, or your evening commute back home.
3. Identify What's Important
Once you've jotted all of your thoughts on paper, ask yourself, "What are the most critical items on my to-do list?" Think of everything you'd like to accomplish in a timely manner and then take note of any urgent and important deadlines. Knowing what you're going to work on ahead of time encourages you to make conscious work decisions. In addition, when you acknowledge your high-level priorities and goals, that will determine what your calendar will look like and how you will block out your time.
4. Time to Throw A Party... A Block Party, That Is
Now, it's finally time to build those blocks. Figure out the best day to do your blocking. Some prefer to do a weekly blocking schedule the Friday before or the Sunday of the upcoming week, while others recommend a daily practice that only blocks out the next day.
Once you've decided your best mode of action, place the items you've planned to do into specific blocks of time on your calendar.
Feel free to get as detailed as you like and make sure to allot yourself enough time to fully complete your tasks. Fill your day with designated times for meetings, creative work, or errands.
Here Are Some Additional Tips On Maximizing Your Calendar Blocking:
Reserve time for breaks, buffers, and the unexpected. While organizing your calendar is the ultimate goal of this activity, it's important to keep your schedule flexible to accommodate unexpected happenings and avoid overcommitting. Also, be sure to add buffers to certain items to give yourself extra time to work on an assignment in case you need it. Lastly, set aside time to rest and recharge.
Dump the distractions. Ditch anything that prevents you from fully focusing on your work. If it's your cellphone, try silencing your ringtone and/or your notifications whenever you need to concentrate on your projects.
Allow yourself to revise and reorganize. Take time to reflect on your productivity. Recognize what blocks worked in your schedule and what blocks didn't. In the upcoming weeks, try to maneuver some blocks around to learn which changes are advantageous and which aren't.
Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here to receive our latest articles and news straight to your inbox.
Featured Image Via Shutterstock
- Block Off Unavailable Time in Acuity – Acuity Scheduling ›
- Ways to ask "save the date" - English Language & Usage Stack ... ›
- What is Calendar Time Blocking? (+ 7 Pro Tips) | Sloww ›
- 7 Tips for Managing Your Schedule Like a Pro ›
- Time Blocking Google Calendar Quick Start Guide: Manage Your ... ›
- Schedule it so it happens: the art of time blocking – The Road Warrior ›
- A Quick Guide to Time Blocking - ProjectManager.com ›
- How to Calendar Block Your Week — Keep Productive ›
- The 5 Best Time Blocking Apps in 2019 ›
- Time blocking 101: A step-by-step guide to mastering your daily ... ›
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Russell and Nina Westbrook are one of those low-key, unproblematic couples we don’t talk about enough. They met in college and got married in 2015. They also have a beautiful family with three kids. While Russell is an NBA star, Nina is a licensed family and marriage therapist and a mental health advocate.
She recently launched the podcast The Relationship Chronicles with Nina Westbrook, and in the latest episode, she had none other than her husband on as a guest. The college sweethearts dived into important topics from marriage to children and how they navigate it all.
One of the topics they touched on was dealing with resentment in your relationship. The former MVP highlighted the sacrifices his wife has had to make in order for him to pursue a career in the NBA, and that’s why it’s also important for him to support his wife whenever he can.
“For me is respecting and understanding what your partner do and the time it takes,” Russell said. “Not kind of downplaying what they do, understanding the time and energy and effort they're doing to make sure whether it’s their job or making sure home is taken care of, and understanding that, I think that is the challenge of not being resentful.”
Nina agreed and also shared her thoughts on resentment. According to her, one of the best things couples should do is have their own identity and passions outside of the relationship in an effort to be fulfilled.
“I also think that when you’re in a relationship, that’s why it’s so important that each individual kinda pursue their own passions and follow their own dreams as I feel like it only becomes or leads to resentment when one person is not feeling fulfilled in what they're doing in their lives,” she explained.
“And so, they will start to look at the other partner who’s happy or excelling or promoting or moving along in their journey, then they’re left feeling stuck like they sacrificed themselves, their happiness, their career, their future and have not pursued it in the name of the relationship or their partner. So, it’s so much easier to avoid those feelings of resentment when you’re each equally pursuing your passions.”
The couple has many passions that they work on together and separately. Outside of basketball and his family, Russell has become known for his eclectic style and started the fashion brand Honor The Gift. Nina has her podcast, and she also started the mental health website Bene. Together, they run the Why Not? Foundation, which works with kids in underserved communities.
“I’m a firm believer that one person can’t be everything to you, so you have to sort of seek out those different friendships or groups or hobbies or activities that help to fulfill you,” Nina concluded.
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Feature image by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images for Religion of Sports