It’s so easy for your time to get eaten up by the emails, phone calls, and small tasks that pop up every day. Using the block scheduling method can help you avoid the distractions and get the most important projects done!
I am the absolute worst about getting sucked into checking my email the second a new message comes in. That little notification pops up, and as long as I know that email is sitting there I’m not able to fully focus on anything else. Some days I end up so frustrated because I don’t feel like I accomplished anything and don’t know where my time went!
To combat this problem, I’ve started using a block scheduling method to get more done.
What is a block schedule?
Block scheduling is basically marking off chunks of time on your calendar to work on a specific project. During these times, you commit to working on that one thing and not getting distracted by anything else!
So let’s say you block off 2 hours from 9-11 am on Saturday morning to work on writing blog posts for your business. Between 9 and 11, you focus solely on writing, without checking emails, brainstorming new post ideas, updating your editorial calendar…
Not only does it force you to work on that one thing, which is helpful if it’s something you’ve been avoiding, but it also can be pretty freeing. Knowing you’re allowed to ignore those emails and other tasks during that time can knock off some of the stress.
And this can absolutely be used at work as well. I block off time to work on specific projects or reports so I can ignore emails, message notifications and lower priority tasks that come up. You can really use this method in any area of your life.
How to Implement Block Scheduling
The first thing you have to know in order to block your schedule is what you actually need to get done! I always have a master to-do list going that has all my open tasks on it. I actually have separate lists for work, my business, and at home.
To create this master list, I basically do a brain dump. I do this every week, and honestly sometimes every day. I just write down every single thing I know I have to get done. As things come up I add them to my master list and I cross things off as I complete them. Whenever I make a new list I make sure to roll over anything I haven’t completed. This helps me be sure nothing falls through the cracks.
Once you know all the things you need to get done, go through and pull out the projects that are most important. You want to be blocking time for your highest priority projects. Go through your calendar and add an appointment for each major task, being realistic about how long you really need. I am really bad about constantly underestimating how long things are going to take. If you’re the same way, make sure to give yourself longer than you think you need!
If you have a really large project or one with multiple steps, break it into multiple time blocks. Nobody wants to sit and work for 6 hours straight. Block out enough time to get a certain part of the project done. This can help you keep from getting overwhelmed by these larger projects as well.
Reduce the Distractions
Even though you’ve committed to a block of time, distractions are still going to be there. So, how can you avoid them?
First, put your phone on silent. And I mean SILENT. You don’t want to be distracted by it buzzing next to you every 5 minutes. Put it in another room if you have to.
Second, turn off notifications on your computer. You can turn them off for email and instant messaging. If there are any other programs you use that have pop up messages, figure out how to turn those off as well. Unless you are on call for something or absolutely have to be able to see something come through, just turn them off. It eliminates the temptation completely.
Finally, communicate your new scheduling system to anybody you work with. Letting your coworkers or team members know that you’re going to be unavailable during a certain time will cut down on interruptions.
Block Scheduling Tips
Tip #1 – Block off your time for your most productive time of day. I know I usually have the most energy and am the most motivated in the morning. I would try to do my highest priority tasks first thing in the morning.
Tip #2 – Don’t take forever planning out your blocks. This is supposed to help you get more done, not add another time-consuming task to your to-do list! Take 10 minutes to do this
Tip #3 – Make sure to give yourself breaks. Even if you have 1,000,000 things to do, don’t schedule back to back blocks for your entire day (or week!). Give yourself at least a little bit of time between blocks for your brain to rest and switch gears.
I only recently started using block scheduling at work and in my business. It’s been so much easier to focus on my higher priority projects and I’ve been able to get more done in less time. With distractions coming at you from every angle, it can be really hard to focus on the things that are actually going to help you reach your goals. Try the block scheduling method for yourself and see what you’re able to accomplish!
Looking for more?
- How to Organize Your Entire Life
- 10 Strategies to Set Up Your Blog Planner for Success
- 5 Step Method to Set Goals You’ll Actually Achieve
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