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What is Block Scheduling and How to Use It

Having a daily planner is just one step in organizing your life. But simply having one won’t suddenly make you more productive. Today I am going to share with you block scheduling, why I use it, and why I think you should too.

What is Block Scheduling

Block scheduling is a process of scheduling that maximizes your time throughout the day by encouraging focus on particular subjects or projects for a period of time before moving on to another subject/project.

If you are someone who finds yourself getting easily distracted and moving from thing to thing in a day, block scheduling might be the perfect tool for you!

Image of the Well Planned Daily Planner, daily spread, showing block scheduling set up for the day. Includes images of red and blue pens.

Here’s how it works:

1. Create a list of everything that you want to get accomplished that day

Start with the most important tasks first. Remember we all have a running to-do list and block scheduling doesn’t magically create more time, so you’ll want to dedicate your time to the most important and impactful to-dos first. You can address the other to-dos if time allows.

2. Set down with your planner and map out a set chunk of time for each task.

Focus energy on the most important task first or the one that will make the greatest impact on your day if it is completed. You will highlight or draw in your planner a block/box around the time you are dedicating to this specific task or project, as shown below.

Related: Make Life Easier with a Daily Planner

You can try out different measures of time for each task if you’d like (for example, 2 hours for office work, 1 hour for laundry, 30 minutes to the kitchen etc) or you can set a specific amount of time for each (for example, 1 hour to each task

3. Set your timer and get to work

At the start of your first task/project block, set a timer for the amount of time you’ve allocated to that project/task. Until the timer goes off, focus only on that task. DO NOT move on to any other tasks until you are either 1. finished with the task/project or 2. your timer has gone off.

Image of the Well Planned Daily Planner, daily spread, showing block scheduling set up for the day.

4. Move on to your next task/project even if you’re not entirely finished

I will say there is a small exception to this and that is to finish the immediate action you are in. For instance, if the timer goes off and you still have a sink full of half-washed dishes, finish up the washing before you move on to your next task. But if you were working on cleaning the kitchen and you didn’t yet get to the mopping, leave it until another time.

Here’s an Example of Block Scheduling in Action

Say you’ve had a busy weekend and it’s Monday morning and you feel that weight of all that was neglected and needs to be done to catch up the day.

You’ll start by making a list of all that you want to get done in the day

  1. Tidy the downstairs
  2. Wash laundry
  3. Playtime with the kids
  4. Meal plan

Next, you’ll see what kind of time you have available to you. For this example let’s say you have 8 hours to work on the list while the kids are at school.

With your 8 hours consider the most important task that needs to be completed. For our example, let’s say laundry is the most important. You will choose the amount of time you want to focus solely on laundry. For this example, let’s say one hour.

You set your timer and for one hour you focus your work only on laundry. Perhaps you collect laundry around the house, load the washer, fold and put away laundry while it washes, and then switch the wet laundry to the dryer.

Related: Well Planned Daily Planner

Image of the Well Planned Daily Planner, daily spread, showing block scheduling set up for the day.

During the “laundry block,” you will ignore any other messes you come across. Remember that 100% of your energy at this time is focused on laundry.

When your timer goes off, finish up the small task you are currently on (say moving laundry from the washer to the dryer) and then move on to your next block of work. If you did not finish all of the laundry, that is okay. You made great progress and that’s what matters.

Additional Points to Consider with Block Scheduling

Block scheduling is a method of scheduling your day to maximize how efficient you are with your day. This doesn’t mean you have to have a mile-long list to benefit from block scheduling. You might find that you only have 3 things you want to accomplish but you’re struggling with motivation. Block scheduling can take your three tasks and break them up into smaller chunks throughout your day.

Image of the Well Planned Daily Planner, daily spread, showing block scheduling set up for the day.

Sometimes breaking up bigger tasks into smaller chunks helps us to stay motivated.

Here’s an example: say you are wanting to clean your living room, kitchen, and playroom but the magnitude of the messes seems too big to tackle and you find yourself paralyzed by all that needs done.

Use block scheduling to carve out a set amount of time for each area. Before you know it the whole mess will have been completed because you focused your energy and attention on one task at a time.

Related: How to Set Up Your Daily Planner

It is also important to remember that block scheduling is about focusing your energy on tasks for a predetermined amount of time. If you haven’t achieved your goal to completion at the end of your time, you still need to move on to your next task.

Use Block Scheduling to Balance Priorities

Block scheduling is a great way to make sure you are focusing time and energy on “work” and “fun”.

Let’s face it, mom guilt hits hard when it comes to cleaning or managing the household. We always feel like we’re not spending enough time with the kids. With block scheduling, you can carve out specific amounts of time for the kids. This will help you to include both the to-dos of life and the beauty of life into your day.

Why I Love Block Scheduling

Block scheduling is a great way to take a HUGE to-do list and break it up into manageable chunks. Sure, I might not get everything on my list done in one day, but with block scheduling, I can focus my energy in a way that makes me more efficient, less distracted, and in the end more accomplished.

And best of all, I get to end the day feeling accomplished but also having made sure to spend time doing what matters most: spending time with family and caring for myself.

So do you think you’ll give it a try?

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