Top 5 things to know about block scheduling

Need a better way to organize your time? Try this method that can help you stay focused. Tom Merritt explains. 

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Productivity techniques are not in short supply. One of the more popular ones is the Pomodoro Method. It sadly does not involve tomatoes but rather scheduling your day in 20 minute “sprints” with five-minute breaks in between.

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A less drastic but similar method that is gaining popularity is block scheduling. It works in a similar way to how schools schedule classes. In blocks.

Here are five things to know about block scheduling.

  1. It has buzz. One of the big proponents is Jack Dorsey, former CEO of Twitter and current CEO of the company that used to be called Square but is now, appropriately, called Block.
  2. There are several methods of block scheduling but the general idea is to carve out time to get rolling on certain things like programming or writing, while shifting more tedious but necessary things, like email and paperwork to limited periods. You might have a morning block of email. Then a block for coding, a block for creativity and brainstorming. And then at the end of the day, another block for administrative things and email again.
  3. You can still have calls and meetings. You just create blocks for them, too. Tools like Harmonizely and Calendly can help you carve out the times you’re available. Maybe you take calls and meetings Monday-Thursday in the afternoons during your admin catch up, leaving the mornings to more focused work.
  4. Day theming is a method of block scheduling that devotes entire days to a project. If you have multiple types of projects that can often be completed or significantly advanced in a day this is good. For example, writing on one day, recording on another and production and publishing on their own day or days.
  5. You can move things around. Let’s say you have a block for tasks. With a little planning you can get more granular and have a smaller block for email, one for bill paying and one for scheduling. That way if you need a little extra time in your day, say to plan a birthday party–you can move some blocks to another day and make room.

There are loads of other tips and tools you may want to investigate to help create your blocks and help others to understand how you’re managing your time. But hopefully, this will help you decide if block scheduling sounds right for you.

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