Time Blocking 101 plus Free Printable Template

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Time blocking has become my new productivity best friend! Today I’m sharing how to get started with Time Blocking plus offering a Free Printable Time Blocking Template to help you stay focused and get more done!

There was a season where I really struggled to find my groove. It didn’t make much sense to me because the kids are now in school and I have HOURS each day to get things done. Why was I feeling so unaccomplished and overwhelmed at the end of each week?

|| In a rush? Jump to the Time Blocking Template  ||

Time Blocking template

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 allusive 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. 

What is Time Blocking?

Time Blocking is a system to 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. Using a time blocking template can help you improve your focus.

Why You Should use a Time Blocking Template

We live in a world full of distractions and shiny objects that capture our eye. In this digital age it is hard to find focus to get things done. Creating boundaries and rhythms help you protect and prioritize your work, giving yourself permission to tune out the distractions.

Creating Your Time Blocks

A time block is a section of time in which you focus on a specific 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.

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.

Your career may necessitate a more detailed time blocking schedule. You may want to use a time blocking template to schedule your days in more detail.

You may find that you use a mixture of the two.

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.

Creating a Daily Time Blocking Template

For some, creating a daily (or hourly) time blocking 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 Out Your Time Blocking Method

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.

Tips to Effectively Block Time

  • Leave white space in your schedule – Do not block off every minute
  • Overestimate how long it will take you to complete a task
  • Add in 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
  • Create morning and evening routines
  • Plan in your biggest priorities first
  • 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.
  • 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 good 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. Multitasking just does NOT work for me. Yes, I can do it, but when I do balls drop and I feel overwhelmed. Time Blocking increases my productivity leaps and bounds!

One handy trick is to laminate your weekly time blocking page and use a wet erase marker so that you can change it as needed!

Download Your Time Blocking Templates

 

Download your Time Blocking Worksheets

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Your download will include these templates:

Time Blocking Worksheets

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.

 
Please note that your link will expire in 2 days, and it can only be downloaded three times. 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!
 
 
Once you download these worksheets head over to THIS POST – where you can download matching to-do sheets! You also might like my article on using a TRIGGER LIST to help you complete a brain dump.
 

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11 Comments

  • Reply
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    Kim Sullivan
    January 12, 2016 at 12:13 pm

    Thank you so much for these! I can’t wait to try time blocking. I used to do something similar in my calendar where I would shade my activities according to how effective each activity was to reaching my business goals. Green activity were highly productive business activities. Yellow activities were activities that were not immediately contributing to my business goals. And then, there were the red blocked times. These were activities that would not benefit my business goals at all. My mentor considered red times to be detrimental to my business and she required that all family related activities be in red. I’m so glad that is no longer my life! Now that I am a stay-at-home mom and blogger, my goals are all about my family and I think your time blocking method will be great for managing my time effectively.

    • Reply
      Donna
      January 20, 2016 at 6:00 pm

      Kim thank you so much for stopping by! I love the concept behind the color coding (minus the making family in RED – family is definitely GREEN 😉 ) I think I might have an idea of how to make a system like that work for me, actually. There are so many things I get sidetracked doing each day when I should be working… mostly Social Media!

      I love the freedom of being home and working from home. It’s hard to balance time but this time blocking has been a life-saver for me! I hope you find that it helps you too. What a blessing to be home and available for our families.

  • Reply
    Ali @ An Ordinary Mom
    March 16, 2016 at 10:23 am

    I really like this way of working a schedule! (And your printables are so pretty, thanks for sharing them!)

  • Reply
    Lara
    March 29, 2016 at 3:09 am

    Loving your website! <3 Subscribed. 🙂

  • Reply
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