Time blocking has become my new productivity best friend! Today I’m sharing how to get started with Time Blocking plus offering a Free Time Blocking Template. This template will help you take control of your days, stay focused, and get more done!
There was a season when I had a hard time finding my groove. I had the whole day to get things done since the kids were in school, but I was still struggling to be productive. Why was I feeling so unaccomplished and overwhelmed at the end of each week?
Here’s a good example of just how scattered my brain can be:
I sit down to work, then suddenly remember that I needed to get something important at the store. I close the laptop, stop everything, and run to the store. On my way home, I pass the post office, which reminds me of the package I needed to ship. Back at home I’d look for the elusive package and realize just how dirty my floors are. I stop everything and grab the vacuum and out of the corner of my eye, I see my laptop and notebook, still waiting for me.
I had no boundaries in the different areas of my life. Family, home, and work were getting all mixed up. Something had to give! I needed to set some boundaries.
In this post I’ll cover:
- What is Time Blocking?
- Why should I use Time Blocking?
- How do I create time blocks?
- How to time block your areas of focus?
- How to use a time blocking template?
- What are some tips for time blocking?
- How can I try time blocking?
- How can time blocking increase my productivity?
What is Time Blocking?
Time Blocking is a time management tool that will help you create structure in your days for various types of tasks. Time blocking is a method that encourages focus by eliminating distractions, helping you to get more done.
Time blocking is not simply writing tasks on a calendar, it is structuring your days in an effective way to help you to focus more and avoid distractions. It will help you to create a rhythm to your day that encourages great productivity.
Using a time blocking template can help you improve your focus.
The time blocking method is also called block scheduling, time boxing, or time chunking. I tend to use the terms interchangeably.
Why Should you use a Time Blocking Template?
We live in a world full of distractions and shiny objects that capture our eyes. In this digital age, it is hard to find the focus to get things done. Creating boundaries and rhythms help you protect and prioritize your work, be in control of your time and allow you to give yourself permission to tune out the distractions.
If you’re frustrated at the end of your day and wonder where all the time went, a time blocking template might be what you need.
If you struggle with attention and often bounce from one task to another, time blocking can add structure and give you the focus that you are missing.
How to Create Your Time Blocks
A “time block” or “time box” is a section of time in which you focus on a given task, project, or skill. There are several ways to create time blocks and I encourage you to try each type so you can find the method that works best for you.
Broad Time Blocks: You may find that you want to create a more broad time blocking schedule for your days. To do this I like to create blocks based on areas of focus. (*see below for even more on this.)
For example, I like to use broad time blocks when I’m not on any big deadlines, I’ll block off my day in big sections “Website work”, “Errands”, “Phone Calls”, etc. These are more general time blocks that give me some direction for my day but aren’t overly detailed or restrictive.
Detailed Time Blocks: Your career or family may necessitate a more detailed time blocking schedule. This is why time blocking is great for homeschooling parents and virtual workers who have a variety of meetings and tasks each day. You may want to use a time blocking template to schedule your days in more detail.
Day Theming: This is similar to what I do currently, Tuesday’s I focus on Graphic Design, Wednesdays are for admin work, etc. You might find Day Theming is a great way for you to get a group of tasks that are similar done quickly!
For example, Instead of a broad time block such as, “Writing” you may want to break that into more specific blocks like, “Write advertisement” and “Draft Blog Post”.
You may find that you use a mixture of the two. I like to use broad blocks for my family time and detailed blocks for the hours I’m working. Other days I prefer to use Day Theming and create specific blocks of time to work on one type of work (like Graphic Design
Time Blocking Your Areas of Focus
One of my all-time favorite productivity books is Getting Things Done by David Allen. In his book, he talks about “areas of focus”. An area of focus is described best as a role or area in your life that is meaningful to you. For me, some of those areas are Family, Home, and Work (Blogging).
Sometimes I create blocks in my time blocking template to reflect these areas of focus. This allows me to create structure in my day. You’ll be amazed at how a time blocking template can increase your focus!
- Family/Home blocks help me to protect time with my husband and our children. I also include things like helping with homework, date nights, bath time, chores, cooking, etc.
- Work blocks were created for focused client work, graphic design, newsletter editing, and website management, etc.
- Blogging blocks give me time to write blog posts, schedule social media, network, and research.
When I sit down to work on my blog I don’t feel pulled away to finish some work or do laundry. I know that I have time scheduled for those things later. It’s so freeing! A time blocking template is simply a guideline for your days and weeks. These guides create structure and a routine that eventually turn into new habits. It’s not a ball and chain and can easily be changed or ignored if needed.
How to Use a Daily Time Block Template
For some, creating a daily (or hourly) time block schedule is most helpful. This is the method that I choose most of the time. I like to break down my days even further.
I take each day and block off an amount of time for client work, personal errands, and home tasks. I often add types of work to my schedule when things are particularly busy. For example, on Tuesdays, I like to do any graphic design work. I prefer to do detailed SEO work in the afternoons as I tend to have more focus after lunch.
Breaking down my days has been helping me to close the laptop more and be more present at home. Dinner and bath times are less stressful because I’m not trying to sneak in work, chores, or other things during that time.
Here is a peek at one of my time blocking templates:
Test it Out with My Time Blocking Printable
No one method of productivity is one-size-fits-all. The same is true about using a time blocking template. What works for one person may or may not work well for you.
The key here is to experiment.
Print out several copies of my time blocking templates and begin trying out different methods.
Resize your printable and tuck your time blocking template into a purse or notebook so you have it with you all day. Sometimes if I’m on the go, I take a photo with my phone so I can refer to my plan throughout the day.
If you’re overwhelmed, start by time blocking just part of your day. I started with my mornings because they are my most productive times and I wanted to make the most of that time.
Try time blocking your downtime instead of your productive time. For some people, it’s helpful to know when you can take breaks, stretch your legs, eat lunch, or go for a walk. Time blocking is super versatile and you can use it however it works for you.
Tips to Effectively use a Block Schedule Template
- Leave white space in your schedule – You do not need to fill in every minute
- Plan your most important items first. What is your biggest priority?
- Block off more than enough time you will need to complete each block
- Add in chunks of time for transitioning from one task to the next
- Leave time for self-care and fun
- Consider adding in time for weekly reviews to assess your productivity
- Don’t forget to add in your morning routine. See how I created my perfect morning routine here.
- Consider when you have energy each day and plan your work accordingly
- Don’t forget those little tasks. Be sure to leave room to check emails, reply to calls, and run errands.
- Turn off distractions. Log out of email and turn off all notifications on your computer. Silence your cell phone so you can focus on detailed work.
- Try adding your time blocking schedule (block schedule template) into your daily planner (you can get my printable daily time blocking planner pages for time blocking here.)
- Consider checking your email only 2-3 times a day.
- Communicate well. Share your schedule with those who may need to know.
How Time Blocking Can Increase Your Productivity
Once you have a basic outline for your week/day you can give yourself permission to stop trying to multitask and start focusing on just one thing at a time. We waste so much time starting and restarting tacks every time we get distracted. By having a plan you will be more likely to stick to it. Keep your time blocking template in front of you as a reminder. Instead of spending 5-10 minutes “resetting” when you get distracted you can use that time to actually get more done!
Multitasking just does NOT work. Yes, I can do it if I absolutely have to, but when I do, balls drop and I feel overwhelmed. Time Blocking increases my productivity by leaps and bounds by encouraging me to “single-task” and focus!
Download Your Printable Time Blocking Templates
What Your Time Blocking PDF will include:
- Weekly Template with one-hour blocks of time – This is the most common template and the one that I use regularly.
- A weekly template with larger time intervals. This template is great for large projects.
- A Morning, Afternoon, and Evening time blocking schedule with larger blocks of time.
You will need to find a template that works best for you and fits your lifestyle. The important thing is that you give it a try. Start the first day with a very simple outline and add in other important tasks each day.
When you download your free time block schedule template you will receive one PDF file. Your template will be a weekly template with one-hour blocks of time. The weekly schedule is a horizontal layout that can be printed on 8 1/2 x 11 letter-sized paper.
You should receive your download link via e-mail within the hour. Be sure you check your SPAM or Promotions folder if you’re not finding the e-mail. If, after an hour, you have not received your link, please contact me and I’ll help you figure out what happened.
I recommend downloading your files right away and saving them in a safe place. If you are on a tablet or smartphone you will want to open and download these files from a Mac or PC. I hope you enjoy your free templates!
I hope you find this free printable time blocking template helpful and that you are able to take better control of your day and get more done!