How to schedule your time effectively (Block-Scheduling)
Recently I have started to implement Block Scheduling into my Routine, and it has been life-changing. For those who are unaware, Block Scheduling is a front-heavy technique that is used to increase productivity. This is done by setting aside a few hours to plan your week in advance, allocating time for activities that are essential/urgent.
It has been three weeks since I started the implementation of Block Scheduling, and here is how I do my scheduling. I really love this method of scheduling as it frees up time for me to do what matters.
(To read up on what are some of the benefits of Block-Scheduling, head over to read my latest article on Instagram @innerpill)
Step 0: Pre-plan phase
Before getting all fired up about Block Scheduling, it is essential to take down the recurring activities that you have in your week/month/year. This includes your classes, day job, morning routine, as well as when you sleep.
The next step is to have a list of what matters to you - this could be your passion or your side hustle. For me, my passion/side hustle would be Innerpill. Write it down so you wouldn’t forget, and remember to only include what is essential (No, unless you are a TV Producer, Netflix and Chilling on a Sunday is inessential. But don’t worry, you will still have time to chill.)
Tip 1: When writing down your task, you don’t have to go into extreme detail. For example, you don’t have to schedule the title as “Eating Burrito in the Morning.” Instead, you can just block it out and label it as “Morning Routine.”
Step 1: Allocating time and day to schedule
After figuring out all the essentials/urgent/repeated based activities, its time for us to figure out a day where we can pre-plan this. Give yourself 1 to 2 hours to pre-plan your schedule without any distractions - You would need the space to think.
I usually block-schedule around 8-10 pm on any given Saturday. I feel that this is the best time for me to schedule as it is the end of the week. You know- Fresh week, fresh me. I would also schedule in both Innerpill’s Content and my daily schedule.
Step 2: Use any Calendar App
I personally use Google Calendar because it is just so convenient. However, if you have any other Calendar app which you utilize, it will work fine too.
Tip 2: If you have a side hustle, I would recommend creating a new calendar just for it – Tag it with another color. This way, you can have an overview of both your personal / business schedule.
Step 3: Start by Allocating Time for Repetitive Activities
Remember all the activities we wrote down in step zero, now let us add in all the repetitive tasks. Remember, these activities are those that will repeat throughout the week/month/year.
Tip 3: A good rule of thumb is to also wake up around the same time on weekdays and maybe a little bit later on weekends. There are two reasons for this. The first is because research has shown that waking up at fixed timing allows you to have better energy and focus throughout the day. The second is because it is way easier to schedule when your day starts at the same time.
Tip 4: Take note to enable the “Repeat Option.” This way you just need to schedule it once, and your calendar is ready to go.
Step 4: Allocate time for your Essentials
Here comes the fun step, where you will start allocating the activities that matter to you - the activities listed in Step zero.
Some of my essentials include writing articles, reading books, and studying for my University Modules. Fun fact: The book I am currently reading - “The 4 Hour Work Week” by Tim Ferriss - was the inspiration behind this article.
Tip 5: Remember to estimate, on average, how long you would need for each of the tasks. You do not really have to go into the specifics, but have a rough idea of where your focus should be at this particular period.
Step 5: How much time do we have left?
Hopefully, at this point, you will have some to many empty spaces left. We can now ask ourselves the question of “How much time do we have left.”
This is a powerful question as all the remaining time is extra. Meaning that we can use it however we want, and still know that we are productive. Think of it as the remaining amount in a budget after paying off all the liabilities.
We can then allocate time for Rest and Relaxation. Yes, that means time for your Netflix. Using the rest of the time, you can either schedule in your meetings or events that you wish to do. I usually leave it blank, so I know that I have the option to either continue on my current activity or take a break.
Step 6: Stop stressing over it.
I cannot stress this enough, but this is just a guideline. Don't beat yourself up because your schedule is set for 6:30 am, but you woke up at 9 am (True story). I know this because I actually felt bad that I overslept, resulting in my daily schedule being ruined.
It is not easy to stick to the schedule at first, and you are bound to make mistakes. Understand that it is fine, and we are human. Analyze what went wrong and make amendments on your next scheduling day. Be proud that you made the first step, for not many people have the courage to do that.
Tip 6: Another issue is how hard it is to fit in time for Social Life once your schedule is fixed. My workaround to this is to have my friends/family plan our dates in advance. I would then try to fit it into my schedule, by rearranging some of my essentials - mainly because it is hard to arrange meetups. (Do take note, however, that this is essential to me because I am an extrovert, and I recharge while spending time around my loved ones).
I hope this gave you a clearer idea of what block-scheduling is and how it could increase your effectiveness. Don’t worry if it seems really complicated and tedious as you will get the hang of it over time. If you like this article, feel free to follow me on my socials and drop a comment on what is your favorite tip.