“Time Blocking” has become one of the latest fads in productivity in 2017. Brands like Toggl are creating software that helps people time their work, keep accountable, and analyze how they spend their time. But, time blocking is more than just timing yourself to see how long it takes you to do something, it’s all about these three words:
Protect. your. time.
You may ask, though, “Why do I need to protect my time? “What am I even protecting my time for?” Choosing how to protect your time, and even what time you should protect to begin with, is all about allowing yourself to find balance, actually accomplish your goals, live according to your values, and make a priority that which is of top priority to you. Take a moment and ask yourself:
What is important to me?
What is usually on your mind, running in the background, for most of your days? When you go to bed at night, what is the last thing you think about? In those moments when you feel most grateful, what do you feel grateful about? Taking a mindful moment to recognize what goes through your mind on a daily, weekly, monthly, and even yearly basis can bring a lot of profound things to light. So, take the time to think about what is important to you and what you want to prioritize and in what order. After you have done this, it’s time to start time blocking.
Time Blocking 101
Sit down one day out of the year and think big. Get a white board, use pen and paper, use a fancy software… whatever it is, get something to record whatever comes into your head.
During this day that you time block, say eight hours, to dream big for the year ahead, it’s important to realize that you should not judge your thoughts whatsoever. Ask yourself that big question I mentioned before, “What is important to me?” Then, recognize and call out whatever it is that comes to mind; now is not the time to judge, but rather, record. Record all the glorious, awe-inspiring, and maybe even random thoughts you have, and, have a blast doing it! This is a time to let your mind run wild and have fun. Unleash the fierce and passionate person within you; trust me. It’s okay!
Near the end of this day, take another time block to plan out twelve individual hours throughout the year and what you will do during each of those twelve hours, one each month. Make sure to schedule in that time now! If you absolutely must change it as the time draws near, that is okay. Just make sure you do it! During this hour timeframe each month, you can time block the upcoming month to make time for all the things that are important to you, making sure you have protected time to accomplish all the goals you set out to accomplish at the beginning of that year. At the beginning of each week (or the end of each week, if that’s preferable) plan for the week ahead. Take one hour to do this, as well.
The important thing to remember with time blocking is this: You are taking this time to ONLY do what you set out to complete. All your worries and massive to do lists can, and have to, wait for that one chunk of time you plan out. Make sure to stick to it and put a hard end on the time! Doing life this way will help you reduce stress like mad because you are not constantly worrying through everything you do, constantly thinking out how long it will take or what lies ahead.