What Is Time Blocking? (Plus How to Create a Time Block)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 5 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Time blocking is a form of strategic time management. This scheduling strategy can help you create and maintain a work-life balance. It's an effective tool that aids with enhancing your work performance, focus and ability to meet important deadlines for increased productivity. Learning about the time scheduling technique can also ensure that you enjoy activities with your friends and family. In this article, we explain what time blocking is and provide tips on how to create a time block in 8 steps.

Related: 15 Ways to Motivate Yourself at Work and Improve Productivity

What is time blocking?

Time blocking is a strategic time management method that helps you plan your daily calendar by sectioning off a time period for a specific task. This, in turn, creates an opportunity for you to reach maximum productivity. This form of time management also aids in balancing work and pleasure, which reduces stress while building a routine. It establishes barriers that are consistent to ensure your work and personal time are both respected. This time management technique is designed to help you manage your schedule throughout the day by:

  • scheduling specific project activities

  • scheduling business emails and phone calls

  • scheduling study and research time

  • scheduling attending business events

  • scheduling deadlines for work tasks

  • scheduling household chores

  • scheduling medical appointments

  • scheduling regular exercise time

  • scheduling family time

  • scheduling leisure time

Related: Time Management Skills: Definition and How to Improve

Benefits of using time blocks

The following are some of the key benefits you can experience by incorporating this method into your daily planner:

Make your workload more manageable

To make your workload more manageable, you can use a daily planner to plan time segments for important activities. By developing segments of time in your schedule, you can also better manage your various relationships at work and outside of work. This scheduling technique allows the people around you to understand and know when and where your focus is during certain intervals of the day.

Prioritise your time

When you prioritise your time into sections you can minimise your overall stress. Stress reduction results through organising your day into time segments to prioritise your schedule with work deadlines and personal commitments. It can aid in creating boundaries that minimise disruptions so that you can meet your deadlines efficiently.

Through prioritising your time on specific tasks and activities, your focus may improve. It may also help increase your momentum towards your professional goals. Your family and friends are also sure to appreciate your time commitments to them.

Improve your focus

By utilising this technique, you can section off large projects into smaller goals. This helps minimise your feelings of being overwhelmed with your duties. It can also help you stay focused on important tasks.

Related: How to Stay Focused When You Work From Home

Maintain your momentum

As you build a daily planner, you may feel more in control of your time and energy. This feeling of empowerment can build greater momentum in your workflow. It can amplify the quality of your work and help you minimise unnecessary distractions.

By creating a schedule that nurtures your momentum, you might see your relationships outside of work strengthen, too. Scheduling ahead of time is a great way to make more time for friends and family. This is achievable through focusing on the tasks at hand in the hours you schedule to do so.

Improve your productivity

Improve your productivity by developing a weekly routine of creating time segments in your daily planner. This can help you become more disciplined at work. A great technique to amplify your work productivity is to simplify your work goals. Keep your goals simple, yet precise, and you'll also effectively build momentum. This way, you can deliver higher quality work and earn recognition from business leaders.

Related: 15 Ways to Motivate Yourself at Work and Improve Productivity

Types of time block schedules

There are three main types of time block schedules you can develop for your daily calendar. They can help you increase your productivity and achieve a work-life balance. The three types of time techniques you can create in your schedule are as follows:

Task batching

Task batching requires you to group small tasks together and schedule them by the hour in your day planner. Every task you group together, you can complete all at once. For instance, you may want to time block an hour every morning to return phone calls, write emails and book appointments.

Day theming

Day theming involves booking an entire day of the week for a specific task. This is effective if you have various activities and projects on the go. It allows you to stay focused on a certain theme for the day. For instance, you may have a project that involves writing, advertising, marketing and sales. The next day, your children may have an all-day event at their school.

Time boxing

Time boxing requires you to set a blocked time period as the deadline for a project. The difference between time boxing and time blocking is time boxing ensures you set a deadline for a project. The deadlines you need to complete are segmented during certain hours you box out in your daily calendar. One tip for setting deadlines is to create a time segment a day ahead of schedule to complete them. Time boxing allows you to schedule a time frame to work on a specific task and minimise the stress of last minute deadline pressures.

How to create a time block

You can learn how to create a time block in order to maximise your productivity and enhance the quality of your person relationships too. The following list details how to create a time block in 8 steps for an effective and productive schedule:

1. Incorporate colour

A colour code can present an immediate visual of what your day looks like. You can create your own code with coloured pens and highlighters. For instance, you can choose a yellow highlighter for top-priority tasks, an orange highlighter to block off certain research time for your projects and a purple highlighter to block off your children's soccer games.

2. Make a list

Make a list of your projects, meetings, appointments and personal activities. This is a good time to think about how much time to distribute between your professional and personal life. Consider including tasks that take you just five minutes to complete, such as an email, and the projects that require a few hours of your time. To create a schedule that is balanced, create your list of things to do a week in advance.

3. Prioritise your tasks

The key to creating a highly effective daily schedule is to prioritise your tasks from the list you made earlier. Mark your tasks into categories, such as high priority, moderate priority and low priority, for the week. By prioritising your tasks, you can improve your success rate of meeting deadlines.

4. Estimate timelines

Once you determine the priority of your tasks, estimate their timelines. You can reflect on your previous experiences with similar projects to determine how fast you can complete each task. If you're unsure about how long new projects may take, you can consult with someone who's completed similar tasks. You may also want to dedicate more time to new or complex tasks to ensure you have enough thinking time.

5. Remain flexible

It's important to remain flexible when planning where you will commit your time and how you will segment it into your daily planner. Being flexible allows you to feel relaxed and avoids cramming too many tasks in a day. It can also reduce the expectations you've set on yourself and help you realise more realistic goals. It's better to have a more relaxed time block schedule, especially when you're new to a work task and this scheduling technique. This can help you avoid overestimating how long a task may take you.

6. Schedule breaks

While creating your weekly schedule, remember to schedule short breaks. Research suggests that after forty-five minutes of continuous focus on a task, a ten to fifteen-minute break is highly beneficial. Coffee breaks or a short walk can help you retain information quickly and return to your project with enhanced clarity. Setting a timer for both your work time and breaks also helps keep you on schedule.

7. Incorporate a calendar app

If you prefer using technology to manage your time, consider using a calendar app. Calendar apps are available on smartphones and computers. You can simply conduct a search online for calendar apps and select the one that best fits your work style. Calendar apps have many features, such as alarms and notifications, to alert you to upcoming work tasks. This can help you stay organised.

Related: How to Improve Work Performance: 16 Tips to Help You

8. Reward yourself

Upon achieving your goals, it's important to reward yourself. After completing a work project, it's important to enjoy time with your friends and family to unwind and show that you value their patience with you. Shop for a new outfit, go out to dinner or buy yourself something you enjoy, such as a new book, as a reward.

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