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Improve Your Productivity with These Time Blocking Tips

As experts and leaders, we often get inundated with people needing our help or new issues being raised. It’s taxing having all that constant distraction and juggling a multitude of deadlines and requirements. Instead of getting through the work, it’s common to get decision paralysis. Where do I even start? Maybe I do a bit of this job and then a bit of that… The distractions and abundance of work become a productivity killer. Among all the strategies out there, one simple and yet game-changing approach stands out for increasing productivity: time blocking.

Time blocking involves setting aside dedicated chunks of time for specific tasks or priorities, shielding them from interruptions and distractions. It’s something many of us have tried at some point in our careers, thinking it’s as simple as it sounds, and then it often fails to accomplish the objective. While you may have tried time blocking, you might not have tried it with the right strategies to make it work.

Here’s some tips for improving your productive with time blocking

Create a productivity sanctuary

Having time dedicated for tasks in your calendar doesn’t mean you’re free from distractions. You will still get emails, taps on the shoulder, calls to your computer or phone, and about any other avenue you have left open. When you block out time for a task, remove all distractions.
  • Turn off notifications for emails and any chat channels
  • Put your phone in another room or turn it to silent.
  • Go somewhere quiet and isolated.
By segmenting your day into distinct blocks, you create focused sanctuaries for strategic planning, innovation, deep work, or crucial decision-making.
Time blocking improves deep focus by immersing yourself fully in a single task, allowing for a state of flow where productivity and creativity flourish.

Separate the time and shift your mind

Instead of jumping from one task to the next, your mind needs to see the clear separation between tasks, just as much as your calendar. Before heading into your hyper-focused blocked out time slot, get up and get a drink or snack or have a quick stretch. Then begin. That break in between gives your brain a chance to reset and stop thinking about what you were doing before.
Start with small tasks: Like with most things, start small and easy. If you start with big projects or complicated pieces of work that will likely go beyond your time slot, you’re more likely to NOT form the good habit. Start with small tasks that are easy to complete. Your time blocks don’t have to be for an hour, you can start by blocking out 10 or 15 minutes to dedicate to things like responding to 5 emails. Start improving just one of your tasks before you apply the strategy to everything.

Make it visual

If you’re the kind of person that finds visuals more meaningful than words, use a whiteboard, notepad, or accompany your appointment with a little image that represents what you want to achieve. If you’re task is to create a finance budget, use a picture that shows someone happy or with a completed budget plan. This keeps your mind focused on the outcome and not the problem.

Benefits of using time blocking to increase your productivity

Mitigate decision fatigue

Constantly shifting between tasks drains mental energy. With predefined blocks for specific tasks, decision-making becomes streamlined, reducing decision fatigue and increasing overall effectiveness.

Prioritising self and strategy

Time blocking extends beyond professional tasks. Allocating dedicated blocks for self-care, reflection, and long-term strategic thinking ensures holistic development.

Implementing time blocking

Start small. Identify key tasks or projects and allocate specific time slots. Use tools like calendars or apps to visualise and commit to these blocks. Remain flexible but disciplined in protecting these time sanctuaries.

Master the art of time blocking, and you’ll see your productivity increase, streamline your focus, and find it easier to focus on personal growth as well. Organisations also reap the rewards of better staff focus and productivity, so encourage a workplace culture of time blocking and valuing people’s productivity sanctuaries.
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