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.
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