Do you continually find yourself with one or more to-do lists much longer than the hours in your day, week or year? You are not alone!
Everyone has a list of things they want or need to do that is much larger than time allows them to get done. This can be a significant source of stress.
If you are using a to-do list to drive your day’s activities, you are probably frustrated at the end of each day. This is because to-do lists are missing critical information needed to help you make proper choices on how to use your time:
- Priority of each item
- Time required to complete each item
- How much time is available to work on each item
A to-do list is important, but it is not sufficient. You need to prioritize tasks based on importance and then schedule adequate time for them on a personal calendar. This is called time blocking. You are blocking time on your schedule for those activities you intend to accomplish. It is a simple but powerful technique.
Here are ten benefits you will receive from using the time blocking technique:
1. Gets You Started
Sometimes the hardest part of working on a task, especially a difficult task, is to get started. It only takes a moment of motivation to beat procrastination. Seeing your task on your calendar scheduled for a specific time, can provide that moment of motivation. Agree to be accountable for what you schedule on your calendar and then watch procrastination disappear.
2. Completes Important Tasks
When we don’t plan how we are going to use the time we have, we allow less important things to dominate our time and we come to the end of our days realizing important things didn’t get the attention they needed. Even if we start working on the important items, we run out of time before they get completed.
Planning ahead and blocking out adequate time for important tasks, allows us to complete the things that will make the biggest difference in our impact to the world.
3. Provides Motivation
Make a commitment to follow your planned schedule and it will provide motivation to get things done. This is because you know the task is important and you have set aside time to do the work above anything else during that block of time. The more you accomplish using this technique, the more motivation it will provide as you get ready to start the task in the next time block.
4. Gives Focus
We love the thought of multitasking. We want to work on multiple things at one time to get more done. However, multitasking doesn’t work. Studies of shown over and over that multitasking gets less done.
Blocking time on our calendars to work on a specific task at a time, keeps us from multitasking. It allows us to have single focus on what we are doing to get more done in less time.
5. Maintains Purposeful Imbalance
Maintaining balance in our lives is not healthy. You’ve heard the term “life happens.” How we spend our time needs to be flexible as unexpected things come into our life. However, we also need a way to make sure we do not ignore important areas of our life.
Time blocking ensures we spend our time on what is important today. It also provides us a record of where we have spent our time in the past, so that we know when areas are being ignored and adjustments are needed.
6. Improves Your Health
Our health is improved by getting exercise, eating healthy, limiting stress, taking breaks and sleeping soundly.
Our stress is limited by time blocking because it prevents us from being over-committed and gives us peace of mind that we are using our time to make the biggest difference.
The other events (exercise, eating, breaks and sleep) should also be recorded as blocks on our calendars to ensure we take care of our health. If the time isn’t committed up front, these are areas likely to be reduced or eliminated at times and take a toll on our health. Make these items a priority and you will be better prepared to accomplish more of the tasks important to you.
7. Makes You Efficient
Time blocking keeps you focused on a single task for a period of time. This stops you from bouncing back and forth between multiple tasks. Because it takes away a significant amount of productive time to go from task to task, blocking out adequate time on your calendar for individual tasks means that you are being much more efficient with the time you have.
8. Makes You Smarter
Continuous learning should be a part of what we do regularly. But this is one of the areas in our lives that gets whatever time is left over. And there is never time left over.
Blocking out time on a regular basis for education makes sure that we are always growing personally and professionally. Blocking out time for fun, sleep and physical activity also puts our minds in better condition to get the most of the time we dedicate to learning.
9. Helps You Say No
Are you a people pleaser? Is your automatic response the answer “yes” when someone asks you ro do something? This can lead to overwhelm and the problem of not getting your important things completed. By blocking out time, you know whether or not you have time to do an additional task for somebody. If you don’t have the time for what you are being asked to do or it is not important, let your calendar be your excuse to say “no.”
10. Builds Relationships
Blocking time to foster and improve relationships can change your life. The biggest determination of our happiness is the relationships we hold. Be deliberate and reserve time regularly on your calendar to make calls, send notes and meet with others to establish new friendships and improve the relationships you already have. Your happiness depends on it.
This list provides just some of the ways you can benefit from blocking out time on your schedule. If you are not currently using this technique, give it a try for one week. After the week, reflect on how effective your past week was in comparison to the weeks before you started time blocking. If there was an improvement, make it a part of your future and see how much more you can accomplish with less stress.
Question: What was your experience in using the time blocking technique? Do you have any additional benefits to add? Leave a comment by clicking here.