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Time Blocks- High Performance Productivity

Learning to manage your time can turn into a nightmare if you don't have a plan for how to do it. In this post we explain the key points to managing time efficiently and balancing your personal and professional lives.

It is common to have to deal with many tasks, both personal and professional, throughout the day but the truth is that most of us arrive at the end of the day feeling frustrated and with the sensation that we completed almost none of the actions that we had planned.

On the other hand, almost all of us know people who are able to get the most out of their time in such a way that they meet all their goals and still have time to do more. How can this be possible if everyone’s day has 24 hours?

One of the key factors  is  organisation and   the other is focus, both of which are included in the technique of time blocking or blocking out your time.


What is time blocking and what is the key to its success?

Time blocking refers to a technique whose purpose is to achieve optimum time management and productivity every day. To do this, it is necessary to plan ahead each of the tasks to be carried out. In this way, each time slot will have no room for uncertainty, dead time and ultimately procrastination.

"Time blocking allows you to achieve optimum productivity during the time available each day."

If you think about it carefully, we've all been putting this technique into practice since we were small. Wasn't there a weekly timetable at school in which subjects were scheduled in time slots up to one hour long, and wasn’t that time blocking?

Yes, it was, and there was also a time for leisure: break. We can transfer this simple system to our professional and personal routine.

At this point, we have all probably written down endless lists of weekly tasks to do, and been surprised when we reached the end of the week without finishing even half of them. Again, frustration comes and we are left with the bitter feeling that for us the days should have more than 24 hours.

Why do these lists not work? Well, because it is not only important to visualise what you have to do but also to be clear about when you are going to do it . If you commit to these two concepts, you will be amazed at what you are capable of achieving by the end of the day.

Time blocking experts say that by using this technique, in 40 hours of effective work per week they can get the results they would have had in 60 hours without any type of planning or structure. This means that time blocking increases productivity by 150%.

When you apply planning and organisational techniques, you learn to use your time more effectively and, above all, to be very clear about what you are investing it in.

One of the premises of time blocking is that "what is not scheduled is not done" because you have not set an execution date.


How to introduce time blocking into your daily routine

The first step towards putting this fantastic technique for productive working into practice is to block out a time slot on one set day of the week for planning the coming days; in other words, for creating your weekly schedule.

Sunday afternoon is the day recommended by those who practice time blocking, as it is the ideal time for focusing on the different blocks of tasks to which you will dedicate the next seven days.

There will be those who make the excuse that they do not even have time to sit down and plan. Precisely for this reason, this is why it is worth doing: to save time, be productive and have peace of mind too. So, the first block of time will be used to create your schedule for the week.


Time blocks for reactive and proactive tasks

When we work, we have two types of tasks, proactive and reactive, the latter being the ones we spend the most time on and waste the most time on.

A proactive task is one that allows you to advance towards your goal, one that you have proposed in a particular area and on which you will focus.

A reactive task is, for example, answering the phone, emails or posts on social media, something we are almost certainly permanently connected to.

The ideal solution is to reserve blocks of time throughout each day for both proactive and reactive tasks, dedicating the first moments of the day, when we usually have more energy, to the former.

"Set aside blocks of time for all kinds of tasks, and stick with them".

This means that it is not necessary to answer all your phone calls, emails, messages, etc., at the same time. You can reserve different time slots throughout the day to do so. To achieve this, it is necessary to mute the phone and deactivate any incoming email alerts during those proactive blocks.

Flexibility and the unexpected

It is possible that many of you feel sceptical about this technique because unforeseen events can occur during the day that rip up your calendar and make you postpone everything until the next day and so on.

Many people think that time blocking is a rigid technique that leaves no room for flexibility, but it is not.

Unexpected events exist and therefore you need to reserve time for them as well. How do you do that? By putting one or more blocks of blank time on your calendar so that if you are in the middle of a task and something unexpected comes up you can use the time in the blank block to take care of it and finish the task in which you were immersed that very same day.

"Schedule one or more blocks of blank time for contingencies".

Forecasts and estimates

At first it can be difficult to calculate exactly how much time you need to reserve for each block in which you will carry out certain tasks in the same group. For example, reserve a block of time from 10am to 1pm to record video classes that will then be posted on our website.

You can combine this long block of time with a short one of one hour that you will use for reactive tasks, such as making phone calls, answering emails or posts on social media.

It is possible that when you start to use this technique you either won’t have enough time or may even have too much, but as you continue and get used to doing it, you will know how to make your schedule work.


Include your personal tasks

This is undoubtedly another of the keys to the success of the time blocking system: if you forget to schedule your personal tasks, it is possible that your calendar will be worthless.

In order to be productive, you have to have energy, so including time slots for resting, eating, playing sports, spending time with family and friends is just as important as the rest. In this way. you can reach the end of the week feeling productive and satisfied at having taken care of the needs of the different areas of your life.


Major benefits of time blocks

Scheduling the week into blocks of time will give you a feeling of well-being and calm, making the thought that "you are not getting anywhere" disappear; i.e., it will make you proactive. In addition, you will be able to analyse and visualise where you are investing the hours of the day, succeeding in calculating the exact time that each task takes.

In the proactive time blocks, you will increase your concentration by minimising distractions and avoiding that dreaded procrastination. You will accommodate personal and professional tasks, achieving a balance between them.

The time blocking system can be applied by all kinds of people and it is not necessary to install any software to do it. With just Google calendar, a whiteboard or a pencil and a sheet of paper, you can plan a productive week with excellent professional and personal results.

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