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The Ultimate Guide to Time Blocking

May 20, 2020
(updated: Dec 6, 2022)
Lesson duration: 5 min

Time blocking is a method used by some of the most successful people from Elon Musk to Bill Gates. It’s a way to boost productivity and get the most out of your day. There are many different ways to increase your productivity, and we’ll cover all the essentials on time blocking in this article.

What is time blocking?

Time blocking is a planning methodology that allows you to account for the different hours of your day. It schedules everything before the day, so you know exactly what you’re doing. It recommends blocking off in small chunks, as opposed to larger chunks, so tasks are more manageable and more likely to complete. 

Benefits of time blocking

There are many benefits to time blocking; the two biggest benefits are a boost in organization and productivity. By mapping out the hours of your day, you are forced to prioritize what is most important. 

It allows you to think in advance of what are the most important things you need to get done in a day and schedule those in when you’re generally most productive. 

For example, I leave my mornings open from meetings so that I can do any deep creative work when my mind is fresh. I do a lot of writing in my days and a lot of strategy work, so doing it in the morning after I’ve woken up and am the most energized helps me to get things done more quickly and with higher quality.

How to time block your day

You can time block either through your online calendar or traditionally with a pen and paper. Whether you’re using a pen and paper, or google calendar, there are a few ways to get started. 

Plan out your day ahead of time

Instead of waiting until the morning to decide how you’re going to spend your day, plan out your day ahead of time. If planning out a week in advance isn’t feasible, simply plan out your day at the end of the previous day. That way when you wake up in the morning, you know what you need to be doing to be successful. 

Include down time

When you start writing out your schedule, include both time where you’re actively working and time where you're commuting or doing other activities. Some items to consider including:

  • Meal prep
  • Eating a meal
  • Stretch break
  • Taking a walk
  • Checking the mail
  • Commuting

Accounting for the down time will help more of your hours be filled in the day and help keep you more accountable. 

Time blocking example

Here’s an example of a time blocking I’ve implemented for today. This includes both work and personal time intermingled throughout the day. Other ways to create time blocking is to use colors to highlight the different things you’re working on. You can organize by project, client, business vs personal, or anything else that helps keep you on track. 

If you're interested in learning more productivity techniques, check out our article on How to Improve Your Focus at Work.

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