Time management is an essential skill, and hour blocking is an easy and powerful way to master this skill. You can use it to block off hours in your schedule and get more things finished. It enables you to take control of the minutes in each day.
Follow this process to take advantage of this valuable technique:
Start with planning. Make a list of all of your important tasks for the week. Then, narrow this list down to three to five essential tasks.
- Be realistic about your planning. Avoid thinking that you can do a million tasks in one day or week.
- Block your hours. After you have a shortlist of tasks, block the hours on your schedule. This is called time blocking and essentially requires you to take each hour and assign a task or item to it. Clump related tasks together and add them to specific blocks of time.
- Remember to schedule lunches and breaks. Taking time to rest your mind and body is important! Your breaks allow you to get back to your tasks with renewed energy.
- Reduce distractions. Hour blocking demands that you eliminate distractions, so you don’t lose focus. Figure out what your main distractions are. Do you waste time on social media or constantly check your phone? Do you spend hours in your email inbox and respond to every message instantly? Eliminate or reduce these distractions. You may want to set aside a specific chunk of time each day to handle your social media, email inbox, and other tasks that distract you from your more essential actions. Also, when you’re working, let others know that you’re busy so they can limit their interruptions.
- Keep the time blocks flexible. Unless you know the exact amount of time each task will take, it’s important to keep the time blocks flexible. This will also enable you to take care of other important things that come up with a minimum amount of stress or changes to your schedule.
- Review your time blocks regularly. Make adjustments as needed. If your tasks change, or you find that they take more or less time than you thought, modify your time blocks to take the new information into account. Reviewing your time blocks will also give you the chance to see when you’re most productive. If you do your best work in the morning, schedule more important tasks during these hours. Reviews will help you evaluate your productivity levels and decide which parts need attention.
Another advantage of doing reviews is that it gives you the chance to see if your reminders are working or if they need to be changed. Use alerts on your phone or computer, sticky notes, or traditional alarms to remind you that it’s time to move to the next task. The key is to find something that works for you.
Effective time management can help you finish more tasks each day and feel more accomplished. Hour blocking is a useful method for anyone who is interested in greater productivity, either at home or at work.