Tackle Your To-Do List with Time-Blocking

Published Thursday, August 05, 2010 2:28 PM

Do you suffer from the "too-much-to-do-and-too-little-time-to-do-it" syndrome? Is your to-do list perpetually unfinished? If these are familiar laments, it's time for time-blocking. 

Time-blocking is the process of designating specific blocks of time each day for tackling particular activities or tasks. Commonsense (and a host of studies) shows that checking your e-mail throughout the day is distracting and a poor use of time.  Rather, checking e-mail only at designated times, allows for better time management. The same is true for a host of other daily activities: scheduling discrete tasks at specific times optimizes productivity.

Time Flies

To begin, make a list and prioritize the tasks and activities in your daily routine. Next establish timelines for how long each task should take. Once you have your to-do list with accompanying timelines it's time to sort the tasks into discrete time-blocks for the day. Tips for effective time-blocking include:

Keep it real: Set realistic time-blocks; in a nine hour work day, realistically eight hours or less will be spent on work. The other time is allocated to transitions and breaks.

Interruption-free zone: Schedule blocks of time when you can be interruption-free each day. Close the office door; turn on your voicemail. Schedule tasks that require deep concentration during this time-block.

Energy check: Identify when your energy levels are high and when they are low. Schedules tasks that require concentration or dedicated blocks of time for when you are high energy and maximize low energy periods by tackling routine tasks that can be done easily. 

For more time-blocking tips, set aside time to read Work Smart: Avoid Office Distractions With Time Blocking and Is This a "Morning" Task? - Scheduling Important Activities for the Right Time of Day. 

Do you have time-blocking tips or techniques? What is your most productive time-block and why? Share your thoughts here and on the Beyond Folders Community's Facebook and Twitter pages.

by Carly Fadako


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Beyond FoldersTM is written by a team of Pendaflex associates passionate about time management, communications, productivity and workplace organization.  Believing in  "continuous improvement" on both a personal and professional level, they share their unique perspectives on subjects of common interest to our readers.

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