2020-07-06

Timeblocking

Timeblocking is a productivity tool for planning your day. I find it works better than (a) working through a list of tasks and (b) not having a plan (unsurprisingly).

To timeblock a day, you allocate a task event to every minute of the day, such that the day (or working day) is filled. Of course, you can put on routine tasks such as meals, traveling, and downtime. I recommend timeblocking the night or day before.

Then, on the day, you follow your plan.

Inevitably, your actual day will deviate from the plan. Things will come up you have to deal with, and tasks will take longer than you estimated.

Sometimes, it is worth making changes to your plan during the day, especially when the plan has been thrown off by several hours.

If possible, try to follow the plan from where you left off. You want to be the sort of person who can accurately predict the length of tasks, and also do them within that time. Knowing that you are allowed to change your plan decreases your incentive to do a good job at planning and execution.


Why it works


  • Timeblocking separates planning and doing. Prioritisation is hard, and mentally draining. You want to group your planning and try to minimise changing your plan.
  • Timeblocking gives you a default action. You’ll always know what to do. Humans tend to accept what they’re given.
  • Timeblocking gives you a target to aim for. Sticking to your plan can be a fun challenge - there’s no room for procrastination (though there should be time planned for rest).


How-to

Timeblocking can be done on paper, a digital calendar, or with productivity software. Make sure you have easy access to your plan in the day, and that isn’t inconvenient to make changes to.

Here’s a timeblocked day in TickTick. Longer tasks should be broken down into concrete smaller tasks within their own plan.
5 Tristan Cook: Timeblocking Timeblocking is a productivity tool for planning your day. I find it works better than (a) working through a list of tasks and (b) not havin...
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