Timeblocking with a Secret Ingredient from My Tricky Recipe
I like the last because it let me imaging I put time in a box. My most valuable time.
Let me share to you an extra ingredient to make it better by locking in the boxes.
The basics of timeblocking
If you don’t know timeblocking, the idea is relatively simple. You use your calendar not just to reserve time for meetings, sessions, or classes. You reserve time slots for working in specific tasks.
Simple, right? You have to work on a paper, sales presentation, or tutorial, so you schedule your mornings from 9 am to 11 am during three days to work on it.
The ideal is to schedule all your productive hours with different activities or tasks, the same as you do with meetings or dates.
You can go deeper and get used to set a time spend budget for each task you have, and then put it accordingly in the calendar.
It helps also if you schedule time for lunch or breaks.
There are several advantages of this technique. Knowing what’s next during a work day releases stress and helps for deep work, for example. Labeling what you are going to do helps to set intentions, also.
And of course it has its apologists and critics, purists and pragmatists — you need to use pen and paper! — like any other time or project management method.
You may say that reality is uncertain and there are always imponderables during the day. Well, that is a problem contemplated by the technique by updating during the day any change to the scheduling.
No, you don’t delete anything, you update side by side. Why? The idea is that as the days go on, you learn better to assign time to tasks.
(If you hadn’t heard about timeblocking before and you want to have a taste, here is the best explanation I’ve found, by Cal Newport. He’s presenting an ad-hoc notebook, but you can forget about it and learn timeblocking anyway.)