How to Use Block Scheduling to Revamp Your Workflow - Deepstash
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The block scheduling system

The block scheduling system

The block scheduling system is where you organize your day into activity blocks for broad goals (errands, chores, ideation) and specific tasks (answering emails, writing a one-off memo).

Block scheduling also offers the flexibility to swap blocks or rearrange them if tasks were completed sooner than allocated. Block scheduling promotes focused work, like programming, studying, or researching, while setting less important tasks aside for later.


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The basics of the block scheduling method

Consider if you can work in "day themes" that are broad in scope and require initiative and advance planning. Do you work better with detailed directives and play-by-play planning? Do you work better in the morning or the afternoon?

There are many block-scheduling methods. The most common are:

  • time blocking
  • task batching
  • day theming
  • time boxing


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Time Blocking

Time Blocking

Day theming is a less-focused approach to block scheduling, in which you dedicate a single day to one project or task. This is best used if you're juggling multiple projects or part-time jobs. Consider each day as a self-contained workflow.

For example,

  • set every Monday aside for newsletter writing, promotion, and administrative work,
  • dedicate every Wednesday to podcast production, editing, and interviewing,
  • Create hands-off days, or“untouchable days” where the time is dedicated to yourself.


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Task Batching

Task batching is helpful for tackling regular tasks.

Task batching is less specific and offers a time frame in which to handle specific tasks, such as an hour to answer emails, or half an hour to pay your bills or research the best vacation spot.


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Blocking or Boxing

Time blocking and time boxing requires planning a specific goal, task, or deliverable around a single slot. For example, choosing to write for four hours each morning or setting aside two hours to complete a presentation.

If you have a 90-minute block for "second language study" but find it difficult to get started, you could break the larger block into smaller boxes: 40 minutes of audio listening and reading, 20 minutes of reading, and 30 minutes of workbook assignments.


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Plan Ahead, but Be Flexible

Plan Ahead, but Be Flexible

Set aside time to look ahead. Take an hour at the end of each week to plan ahead. Ensure to leave large blocks for reading and overflow from tasks that were interrupted by daycare issues or unexpected edits/fact-checks.

When you schedule with time blocks, intentionally schedule your work, but don't be too rigid. If you finish a task ahead of time, relocate another block so that you don't get engaged with busy work to fill the time.


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