As a hyper-achiever, I love being into action. As a multi-passion person, I love (and I am) many things.
Having so many things on your plate can be overwhelming without clarity and structure. Without it, I’m all over the place.
I started solving this problem when I realized how much it bothers me the feeling of business and the constant feeling that I’m not doing enough.
I wanted to do more of what’s important to my business. I wanted to work smarter. I wanted to see results, and I also wanted to have a healthy workflow.
I started looking at my business and the tasks I was performing every week to realize that I needed to simplify and focus only on my top goals – those producing the most significant results.
Mostly I started saying no to a lot of things.
The most significant change I made was to block the time for my most important tasks. At this point, I truly believe being productive is the key to success. I also know that you don’t just come across productivity organically.
You learn it.
It mostly comes in handy when you cannot see results.
What is time blocking?
Time blocking is a great way to take back control of your calendar and intentionally schedule work.
As Parkinson’s Law states, “work expands to fill the time allocated to it.” Or why the same project can take you 30 minutes or a day. Simply put is that if you allow yourself to complete something in one week, you’ll do it in one week even though it may take you only 2 hours to finish it today. The extra time will be only just stress and tension about having to get it done.
How I did do it? I used the calendar to add blocks of time allocated to doing my most important tasks. Like writing this article. It has dedicated uninterrupted slots in my calendar. No phone calls, Instagram, email. Once you start doing this, you’ll notice that is much easier to enter into a state of flow if you’re consistent with it.
Most people do their most important work in the morning before checking their email, slack channels, etc. I do the same. I’m well-rested, relaxed, and calm.
I love this system way more than having an endless to-do list and just crossing off them one by one because I can manage my attention and focus better.
How do you know if time blocking is what you need?
Then spend a little bit of time answering these questions.
- Are you frequently multitasking?
- Is it hard for you to focus on one task?
- Are you struggling with overworking?
- Don’t you know how you spend your time and energy while working?
- Do you often find yourself distracted by other small stuff?
If you answered yes to a couple of these questions, then time blocking is the right fit.
As you get started with time blocking, think of each block as an uninterrupted chunk of work where you can approach your most important projects and get into deep work.
What is deep work?
The term “deep work” was introduced by Cal Newport, one of the biggest modern proponents of time blocking. He was the first to connect time blocking to deep work in the digital age.
According to Newport, time blocking can help you schedule large blocks of distraction-free time where you can dive into deep, uninterrupted work.
But, time blocking is only effective if you know what you need to do and when.
Time blocking won’t be effective if your calendar is mostly filled with meetings, but if you have any open slots, you can use this strategy to manage your attention and focus better.
Suppose you can’t tell the difference between what’s urgent and important?
Use the Eisenhower Matrix, a powerful tool that can 10x your effectiveness.
It consists of 4 quadrants that classify your daily activities according to two parameters: level of urgency and level of importance.
For most people, it looks like this:
Getting out of the busyness and entering the productivity area means spending your time in quadrant II. This quadrant allows you to focus on the most important thing that produces the most results. This is where you’re making significant progress toward your goals and will enable you to enjoy a balanced life.
On the other hand, the most ineffective people spend most of their time in quadrants III and IV, mostly frustrated with not seeing results but thinking they are in quadrant II.
You’ll always face many weekly tasks, but knowing which to tackle first is essential.
To avoid the mere-urgency trap, use the Eisenhower Matrix to do more of what’s important to you and get you closer to your long-term goals.
Always remember that you aim to be productive, not busy.
First, focus on getting important tasks done. Next, aim to be more efficient in less time.