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Time blocking 101: A step-by-step guide to mastering your daily schedule

Cons of the time blocking practice

  • It takes a lot of time and effort.
  • Few of us (if any) have the same schedule every day.
  • We’re bad at estimating how long tasks will take to do.
  • Constant interruptions and “urgent” tasks can destroy your system.
  • Flexibility is key in most workplaces.
  • You can lose sight of the bigger picture if you focus just on each day.

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Time blocking 101: A step-by-step guide to mastering your daily schedule

Time blocking 101: A step-by-step guide to mastering your daily schedule

https://blog.rescuetime.com/time-blocking-101/

blog.rescuetime.com

52

Key Ideas

Time blocking

It's the practice of planning out every moment of your day in advance and dedicating specific time “blocks” for certain tasks and responsibilities.

When you fill your calendar with the tasks and things you want to do, it’s harder for others to steal your time.

Time blocking and focus

By scheduling every minute of your day you not only guard against distraction but also multiply your focus.

Also, focusing on one task at a time can make you up to 80% more productive than splitting your attention across multiple tasks.

Cons of the time blocking practice

  • It takes a lot of time and effort.
  • Few of us (if any) have the same schedule every day.
  • We’re bad at estimating how long tasks will take to do.
  • Constant interruptions and “urgent” tasks can destroy your system.
  • Flexibility is key in most workplaces.
  • You can lose sight of the bigger picture if you focus just on each day.

Time blocking your schedule

  1. Know your high-level priorities and goals.
  2. Start creating blocks for your time outside of work (morning routines, time with family/friends etc.)
  3. Schedule your most meaningful work for when your energy and attention naturally peak.
  4. Add blocks for reactive tasks each day (emails, calls, meetings).
  5. Write down your daily to-do list (for work, home, and family/social) and fill it in.

Tips from time blocking experts

  • Place buffers in between tasks.
  • Schedule your breaks too. 
  • Use the right daily time management strategies to stay on track. 
  • Overestimate how long things will take (at least to start). 
  • Put in time for downtime, relaxation, and learning. 
  • Make sure the people around you understand what you’re working on.
  • Revise as needed.

You can probably count on your fingers the number of times you've completed 8 hours of work in an 8-hour workday. Whether it's endless meetings, constant emails, or coworkers popping in for a "quick chat," your productivity rarely makes it through the day.

The problem is that when you design your to-do list for an 8-hour workday but end up with just 1-2 hours of productive time, you're going to be in trouble.

But to-do lists aren't the only way you can organize your daily schedule. Some of the world's most productive people, from Elon Musk to Bill Gates to Deep Work author Cal Newport have sworn off to-do lists in favor of something else: Time blocking .

This might sound like you're turning your calendar into a chaotic mess. However, it can actually have the opposite effect. When you fill your calendar with the tasks and things you want to do, it's harder for others to steal your time.

As behavioral designer, Nir Eyal told us :

"In this day and age you cannot call something distracting unless you know what it's distracting you from."

The simple reason why time blocking works is that it's designed for focus.

The human brain needs guardrails at work. Otherwise, we fall into what's known as Parkinson's Law:

"Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion"

By scheduling every minute of your day you not only guard against distraction but also multiply your focus.

Single-tasking -focusing on one task at a time-can make you up to 80% more productive than splitting your attention across multiple tasks. Plus, when you know you have time set aside later for checking email or replying to Slack messages you're less likely to give into the FOMO these tools create.

As Deep Work author Cal Newport writes :

"Sometimes people ask why I bother with such a detailed level of planning. My answer is simple: it generates a massive amount of productivity. A 40-hour time-blocked work week, I estimate, produces the same amount of output as a 60+ hour work week pursued without structure."

This isn't to say that time blocking is a perfect solution, however. In fact, there are a lot of reasons why you wouldn't want to block out your daily schedule:

Cons Of The Time Blocking

  • It takes a lot of time and effort. Scheduling each minute of your day means... scheduling every minute of your day. It's a much more labor-intensive system than just writing out the 4 or 5 tasks you need to complete.
  • Few of us (if any) have the same schedule every day. Time blocking is much easier when you have a clear set of tasks. However, most of us need to constantly adapt to requests and demands.
  • We're bad at estimating how long tasks will take to do. We all have a tendency to be overoptimistic with how much we can get done in a day (psychologists call this the Planning Fallacy ). It can be disheartening (and stressful ) when you feel like you're constantly behind your schedule.
  • Constant interruptions and "urgent" tasks can destroy your system. Relying on upfront planning means that when one thing goes wrong, the whole system breaks down.
  • Flexibility is key in most workplaces. You can't tell your boss that you won't be able to get that urgent fix out today because it's not on your calendar. A strict schedule like this doesn't always jive with the demands of your workplace.
  • You can lose sight of the bigger picture. Focusing just on each day can sometimes make it harder to think about making progress on your long-term goals.

Time management

As Deep Work author Cal Newport writes :

"Sometimes people ask why I bother with such a detailed level of planning. My answer is simple: it generates a massive amount of productivity. A 40-hour time-blocked work week, I estimate, produces the same amount of output as a 60+ hour work week pursued without structure."

This isn't to say that time blocking is a perfect solution, however. In fact, there are a lot of reasons why you wouldn't want to block out your daily schedule:

This might sound like you're turning your calendar into a chaotic mess. However, it can actually have the opposite effect. When you fill your calendar with the tasks and things you want to do, it's harder for others to steal your time.

As behavioral designer, Nir Eyal told us :

"In this day and age you cannot call something distracting unless you know what it's distracting you from."

The simple reason why time blocking works is that it's designed for focus.

This might sound like you're turning your calendar into a chaotic mess. However, it can actually have the opposite effect. When you fill your calendar with the tasks and things you want to do, it's harder for others to steal your time.

As behavioral designer, Nir Eyal told us :

"In this day and age you cannot call something distracting unless you know what it's distracting you from."

The simple reason why time blocking works is that it's designed for focus.

You can probably count on your fingers the number of times you've completed 8 hours of work in an 8-hour workday. Whether it's endless meetings, constant emails, or coworkers popping in for a "quick chat," your productivity rarely makes it through the day.

The problem is that when you design your to-do list for an 8-hour workday but end up with just 1-2 hours of productive time, you're going to be in trouble.

But to-do lists aren't the only way you can organize your daily schedule. Some of the world's most productive people, from Elon Musk to Bill Gates to Deep Work author Cal Newport have sworn off to-do lists in favor of something else: Time blocking .

You can probably count on your fingers the number of times you've completed 8 hours of work in an 8-hour workday. Whether it's endless meetings, constant emails, or coworkers popping in for a "quick chat," your productivity rarely makes it through the day.

The problem is that when you design your to-do list for an 8-hour workday but end up with just 1-2 hours of productive time, you're going to be in trouble.

But to-do lists aren't the only way you can organize your daily schedule. Some of the world's most productive people, from Elon Musk to Bill Gates to Deep Work author Cal Newport have sworn off to-do lists in favor of something else: Time blocking .

You can probably count on your fingers the number of times you've completed 8 hours of work in an 8-hour workday. Whether it's endless meetings, constant emails, or coworkers popping in for a "quick chat," your productivity rarely makes it through the day.

The problem is that when you design your to-do list for an 8-hour workday but end up with just 1-2 hours of productive time, you're going to be in trouble.

But to-do lists aren't the only way you can organize your daily schedule. Some of the world's most productive people, from Elon Musk to Bill Gates to Deep Work author Cal Newport have sworn off to-do lists in favor of something else: Time blocking .

You can probably count on your fingers the number of times you've completed 8 hours of work in an 8-hour workday. Whether it's endless meetings, constant emails, or coworkers popping in for a "quick chat," your productivity rarely makes it through the day.

The problem is that when you design your to-do list for an 8-hour workday but end up with just 1-2 hours of productive time, you're going to be in trouble.

But to-do lists aren't the only way you can organize your daily schedule. Some of the world's most productive people, from Elon Musk to Bill Gates to Deep Work author Cal Newport have sworn off to-do lists in favor of something else: Time blocking .

You can probably count on your fingers the number of times you've completed 8 hours of work in an 8-hour workday. Whether it's endless meetings, constant emails, or coworkers popping in for a "quick chat," your productivity rarely makes it through the day.

The problem is that when you design your to-do list for an 8-hour workday but end up with just 1-2 hours of productive time, you're going to be in trouble.

But to-do lists aren't the only way you can organize your daily schedule. Some of the world's most productive people, from Elon Musk to Bill Gates to Deep Work author Cal Newport have sworn off to-do lists in favor of something else: Time blocking .

You can probably count on your fingers the number of times you've completed 8 hours of work in an 8-hour workday. Whether it's endless meetings, constant emails, or coworkers popping in for a "quick chat," your productivity rarely makes it through the day.

The problem is that when you design your to-do list for an 8-hour workday but end up with just 1-2 hours of productive time, you're going to be in trouble.

But to-do lists aren't the only way you can organize your daily schedule. Some of the world's most productive people, from Elon Musk to Bill Gates to Deep Work author Cal Newport have sworn off to-do lists in favor of something else: Time blocking .

You can probably count on your fingers the number of times you've completed 8 hours of work in an 8-hour workday. Whether it's endless meetings, constant emails, or coworkers popping in for a "quick chat," your productivity rarely makes it through the day.

The problem is that when you design your to-do list for an 8-hour workday but end up with just 1-2 hours of productive time, you're going to be in trouble.

But to-do lists aren't the only way you can organize your daily schedule. Some of the world's most productive people, from Elon Musk to Bill Gates to Deep Work author Cal Newport have sworn off to-do lists in favor of something else: Time blocking .

You can probably count on your fingers the number of times you've completed 8 hours of work in an 8-hour workday. Whether it's endless meetings, constant emails, or coworkers popping in for a "quick chat," your productivity rarely makes it through the day.

The problem is that when you design your to-do list for an 8-hour workday but end up with just 1-2 hours of productive time, you're going to be in trouble.

But to-do lists aren't the only way you can organize your daily schedule. Some of the world's most productive people, from Elon Musk to Bill Gates to Deep Work author Cal Newport have sworn off to-do lists in favor of something else: Time blocking .

The human brain needs guardrails at work. Otherwise, we fall into what's known as Parkinson's Law:

"Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion"

By scheduling every minute of your day you not only guard against distraction but also multiply your focus.

Single-tasking -focusing on one task at a time-can make you up to 80% more productive than splitting your attention across multiple tasks. Plus, when you know you have time set aside later for checking email or replying to Slack messages you're less likely to give into the FOMO these tools create.

You can probably count on your fingers the number of times you've completed 8 hours of work in an 8-hour workday. Whether it's endless meetings, constant emails, or coworkers popping in for a "quick chat," your productivity rarely makes it through the day.

The problem is that when you design your to-do list for an 8-hour workday but end up with just 1-2 hours of productive time, you're going to be in trouble.

But to-do lists aren't the only way you can organize your daily schedule. Some of the world's most productive people, from Elon Musk to Bill Gates to Deep Work author Cal Newport have sworn off to-do lists in favor of something else: Time blocking .

The human brain needs guardrails at work. Otherwise, we fall into what's known as Parkinson's Law:

"Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion"

By scheduling every minute of your day you not only guard against distraction but also multiply your focus.

Single-tasking -focusing on one task at a time-can make you up to 80% more productive than splitting your attention across multiple tasks. Plus, when you know you have time set aside later for checking email or replying to Slack messages you're less likely to give into the FOMO these tools create.

You can probably count on your fingers the number of times you've completed 8 hours of work in an 8-hour workday. Whether it's endless meetings, constant emails, or coworkers popping in for a "quick chat," your productivity rarely makes it through the day.

The problem is that when you design your to-do list for an 8-hour workday but end up with just 1-2 hours of productive time, you're going to be in trouble.

But to-do lists aren't the only way you can organize your daily schedule. Some of the world's most productive people, from Elon Musk to Bill Gates to Deep Work author Cal Newport have sworn off to-do lists in favor of something else: Time blocking .

You can probably count on your fingers the number of times you've completed 8 hours of work in an 8-hour workday. Whether it's endless meetings, constant emails, or coworkers popping in for a "quick chat," your productivity rarely makes it through the day.

The problem is that when you design your to-do list for an 8-hour workday but end up with just 1-2 hours of productive time, you're going to be in trouble.

But to-do lists aren't the only way you can organize your daily schedule. Some of the world's most productive people, from Elon Musk to Bill Gates to Deep Work author Cal Newport have sworn off to-do lists in favor of something else: Time blocking .

You can probably count on your fingers the number of times you've completed 8 hours of work in an 8-hour workday. Whether it's endless meetings, constant emails, or coworkers popping in for a "quick chat," your productivity rarely makes it through the day.

The problem is that when you design your to-do list for an 8-hour workday but end up with just 1-2 hours of productive time, you're going to be in trouble.

But to-do lists aren't the only way you can organize your daily schedule. Some of the world's most productive people, from Elon Musk to Bill Gates to Deep Work author Cal Newport have sworn off to-do lists in favor of something else: Time blocking .

You can probably count on your fingers the number of times you've completed 8 hours of work in an 8-hour workday. Whether it's endless meetings, constant emails, or coworkers popping in for a "quick chat," your productivity rarely makes it through the day.

The problem is that when you design your to-do list for an 8-hour workday but end up with just 1-2 hours of productive time, you're going to be in trouble.

But to-do lists aren't the only way you can organize your daily schedule. Some of the world's most productive people, from Elon Musk to Bill Gates to Deep Work author Cal Newport have sworn off to-do lists in favor of something else: Time blocking .

The human brain needs guardrails at work. Otherwise, we fall into what's known as Parkinson's Law:

"Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion"

By scheduling every minute of your day you not only guard against distraction but also multiply your focus.

Single-tasking -focusing on one task at a time-can make you up to 80% more productive than splitting your attention across multiple tasks. Plus, when you know you have time set aside later for checking email or replying to Slack messages you're less likely to give into the FOMO these tools create.

  • It takes a lot of time and effort. Scheduling each minute of your day means... scheduling every minute of your day. It's a much more labor-intensive system than just writing out the 4 or 5 tasks you need to complete.
  • Few of us (if any) have the same schedule every day. Time blocking is much easier when you have a clear set of tasks. However, most of us need to constantly adapt to requests and demands.
  • We're bad at estimating how long tasks will take to do. We all have a tendency to be overoptimistic with how much we can get done in a day (psychologists call this the Planning Fallacy ). It can be disheartening (and stressful ) when you feel like you're constantly behind your schedule.
  • Constant interruptions and "urgent" tasks can destroy your system. Relying on upfront planning means that when one thing goes wrong, the whole system breaks down.
  • Flexibility is key in most workplaces. You can't tell your boss that you won't be able to get that urgent fix out today because it's not on your calendar. A strict schedule like this doesn't always jive with the demands of your workplace.
  • You can lose sight of the bigger picture. Focusing just on each day can sometimes make it harder to think about making progress on your long-term goals.

You can probably count on your fingers the number of times you've completed 8 hours of work in an 8-hour workday. Whether it's endless meetings, constant emails, or coworkers popping in for a "quick chat," your productivity rarely makes it through the day.

The problem is that when you design your to-do list for an 8-hour workday but end up with just 1-2 hours of productive time, you're going to be in trouble.

But to-do lists aren't the only way you can organize your daily schedule. Some of the world's most productive people, from Elon Musk to Bill Gates to Deep Work author Cal Newport have sworn off to-do lists in favor of something else: Time blocking .

You can probably count on your fingers the number of times you've completed 8 hours of work in an 8-hour workday. Whether it's endless meetings, constant emails, or coworkers popping in for a "quick chat," your productivity rarely makes it through the day.

The problem is that when you design your to-do list for an 8-hour workday but end up with just 1-2 hours of productive time, you're going to be in trouble.

But to-do lists aren't the only way you can organize your daily schedule. Some of the world's most productive people, from Elon Musk to Bill Gates to Deep Work author Cal Newport have sworn off to-do lists in favor of something else: Time blocking .

Here's how you can use time blocking to make the most of the time you have each day.

Need more help taking control of your time? RescueTime shows you how you spend your day so you can optimize your schedule for focus and productivity. Try it for free .

Time blocking is the practice of planning out every moment of your day in advance and dedicating specific time "blocks" for certain tasks and responsibilities.

While a standard to-do list tells you what you need to do, time blocking tells you when you're going to do it. Click To Tweet

This might sound like you're turning your calendar into a chaotic mess. However, it can actually have the opposite effect. When you fill your calendar with the tasks and things you want to do, it's harder for others to steal your time.

As behavioral designer, Nir Eyal told us :

"In this day and age you cannot call something distracting unless you know what it's distracting you from."

The simple reason why time blocking works is that it's designed for focus.

The human brain needs guardrails at work. Otherwise, we fall into what's known as Parkinson's Law:

"Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion"

By scheduling every minute of your day you not only guard against distraction but also multiply your focus.

Single-tasking -focusing on one task at a time-can make you up to 80% more productive than splitting your attention across multiple tasks. Plus, when you know you have time set aside later for checking email or replying to Slack messages you're less likely to give into the FOMO these tools create.

As Deep Work author Cal Newport writes :

"Sometimes people ask why I bother with such a detailed level of planning. My answer is simple: it generates a massive amount of productivity. A 40-hour time-blocked work week, I estimate, produces the same amount of output as a 60+ hour work week pursued without structure."

This isn't to say that time blocking is a perfect solution, however. In fact, there are a lot of reasons why you wouldn't want to block out your daily schedule:

  • It takes a lot of time and effort. Scheduling each minute of your day means... scheduling every minute of your day. It's a much more labor-intensive system than just writing out the 4 or 5 tasks you need to complete.
  • Few of us (if any) have the same schedule every day. Time blocking is much easier when you have a clear set of tasks. However, most of us need to constantly adapt to requests and demands.
  • We're bad at estimating how long tasks will take to do. We all have a tendency to be overoptimistic with how much we can get done in a day (psychologists call this the Planning Fallacy ). It can be disheartening (and stressful ) when you feel like you're constantly behind your schedule.
  • Constant interruptions and "urgent" tasks can destroy your system. Relying on upfront planning means that when one thing goes wrong, the whole system breaks down.
  • Flexibility is key in most workplaces. You can't tell your boss that you won't be able to get that urgent fix out today because it's not on your calendar. A strict schedule like this doesn't always jive with the demands of your workplace.
  • You can lose sight of the bigger picture. Focusing just on each day can sometimes make it harder to think about making progress on your long-term goals.

Potential issues aside, time-blocking is still a powerful time management strategy . Especially when you see it as a framework for thinking about your day rather than a set of laws you can't break.

As Abby Lawson writes in Forbes :

"[My day] rarely goes exactly how I planned, but it does... keep me on task, and a lot less likely to go down the Facebook rabbit hole, or get distracted by something else because I know that if I take too much time on this task, it pushes the rest of my schedule back."

Let's walk through a simple step-by-step process for setting up your own time blocking system.

The first question you need to answer is: Why do you want to use time blocking?

Is it because you want more time for focused work ? Or to reduce your time spent on emails or in meetings? Or simply just to leave work at a reasonable hour and spend time with family?

Whatever you choose, knowing your high-level priorities and goals will shape what makes it onto your schedule and how you block out your day.

Now it's time to actually start creating your "blocks." Instead of jumping straight into your workday, however, start with guardrails for your time outside of work.

What's your morning routine ? How will you disconnect from work and make time for friends, family, and hobbies? These tasks are just as, if not more important than what you do during the day.

Here are a few examples of what this might look like.

If you want to make time for meaningful work , you can try this method from founder and academic Kevin Taylor . Each morning, Kevin has a recurring 2-hour block set aside for writing.

At the other end of the day, your schedule might look something like this example from Atomic Design author Brad Frost. At the end of each day, Brad schedules a "wind down" period followed by family time, an evening routine, and then personal time.

Again, how Brad blocked out his time was based on his priority of spending time with his family. As Brad told us :

"Before having a baby, my wife and I would both work well into the evening hours, largely because we could and there was nothing stopping us! Of course, that isn't healthy on a number of different levels. So it's been great to ask ourselves, 'how can I maximize my workday so that I can play with my kid?'"

  • Place buffers in between tasks. We all have what's called "Attention residue" after completing a task that can take anywhere from 10-15 minutes to get over. If you assume you can switch gears on the spot, you're going to end up frustrated and behind schedule.
  • Schedule your breaks (not just lunch). We're not machines. Make sure you set aside time throughout the day for a quick stretch or walk to give your brain (and your eyes) a rest.
  • Use the right daily time management strategies to stay on track. Time blocking means sticking to your schedule. Use daily time management strategies like the Pomodoro method or the 2-minute rule to keep you moving through your schedule and hitting your goals.
  • Overestimate how long things will take (at least to start). Remember the planning fallacy ? Don't be over-optimistic with your day until you have a solid understanding of what you can get done. Some experts say you should give yourself 2-3X as long as you think a task will take.
  • Put in time for downtime, relaxation, and learning. The most productive people pair work with rest . Give yourself the time you need to relax, let loose, and even learn new skills. You don't have to be 100% productive 100% of the time.
  • Tell people what you're doing. No one is an island. Make sure the people around you understand what you're working on, when you're available, and set realistic expectations on communication and collaboration.
  • Set an "overflow day" to stop you from feeling overwhelmed. If you're constantly falling behind on tasks, you'll want to set aside an overflow day dedicated to getting caught up.
  • Revise as needed. No one works well within a rigid system. Try to be as realistic as possible when you set your schedule but be prepared to move things around or throw it out for a day if a crisis unfolds.

Want to see some real-world examples of schedules designed for focus? Check out our guide to setting up a work scheduled designed for sustained attention .

One of the great things about time blocking is that it can be dead simple to start. All you really need is a piece of paper and a pen. However, there are a few simple and free tools you can use to make it that much easier.

Any calendar app will do (bonus points if you can share with teammates). However, if you want to use Google Calendar, we've put together this list of power features and best practices to make the most of it.

Time blocking is all about focus. To stay on task during each block, I like to use a simple Pomodoro timer (Right now I use Be Focused ). Having your remaining time visible can be a huge motivator and also help you estimate in the future.

There are too many distractions just waiting to ruin your perfectly planned schedule. By using a tool like RescueTime , you can quickly see where you're most distracted, what time of day you're most productive, and even set goals around time spent on email, social media, or entertainment during the workday.

You can probably count on your fingers the number of times you've completed 8 hours of work in an 8-hour workday. Whether it's endless meetings, constant emails, or coworkers popping in for a "quick chat," your productivity rarely makes it through the day.

The problem is that when you design your to-do list for an 8-hour workday but end up with just 1-2 hours of productive time, you're going to be in trouble.

But to-do lists aren't the only way you can organize your daily schedule. Some of the world's most productive people, from Elon Musk to Bill Gates to Deep Work author Cal Newport have sworn off to-do lists in favor of something else: Time blocking .

The human brain needs guardrails at work. Otherwise, we fall into what's known as Parkinson's Law:

"Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion"

By scheduling every minute of your day you not only guard against distraction but also multiply your focus.

Single-tasking -focusing on one task at a time-can make you up to 80% more productive than splitting your attention across multiple tasks. Plus, when you know you have time set aside later for checking email or replying to Slack messages you're less likely to give into the FOMO these tools create.

You can probably count on your fingers the number of times you've completed 8 hours of work in an 8-hour workday. Whether it's endless meetings, constant emails, or coworkers popping in for a "quick chat," your productivity rarely makes it through the day.

The problem is that when you design your to-do list for an 8-hour workday but end up with just 1-2 hours of productive time, you're going to be in trouble.

But to-do lists aren't the only way you can organize your daily schedule. Some of the world's most productive people, from Elon Musk to Bill Gates to Deep Work author Cal Newport have sworn off to-do lists in favor of something else: Time blocking .

Here's how you can use time blocking to make the most of the time you have each day.

Need more help taking control of your time? RescueTime shows you how you spend your day so you can optimize your schedule for focus and productivity. Try it for free .

Time blocking is the practice of planning out every moment of your day in advance and dedicating specific time "blocks" for certain tasks and responsibilities.

While a standard to-do list tells you what you need to do, time blocking tells you when you're going to do it. Click To Tweet

You can probably count on your fingers the number of times you've completed 8 hours of work in an 8-hour workday. Whether it's endless meetings, constant emails, or coworkers popping in for a "quick chat," your productivity rarely makes it through the day.

The problem is that when you design your to-do list for an 8-hour workday but end up with just 1-2 hours of productive time, you're going to be in trouble.

But to-do lists aren't the only way you can organize your daily schedule. Some of the world's most productive people, from Elon Musk to Bill Gates to Deep Work author Cal Newport have sworn off to-do lists in favor of something else: Time blocking .

What's your morning routine ? How will you disconnect from work and make time for friends, family, and hobbies? These tasks are just as, if not more important than what you do during the day.

Here are a few examples of what this might look like.

If you want to make time for meaningful work , you can try this method from founder and academic Kevin Taylor . Each morning, Kevin has a recurring 2-hour block set aside for writing.

At the other end of the day, your schedule might look something like this example from Atomic Design author Brad Frost. At the end of each day, Brad schedules a "wind down" period followed by family time, an evening routine, and then personal time.

The human brain needs guardrails at work. Otherwise, we fall into what's known as Parkinson's Law:

"Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion"

By scheduling every minute of your day you not only guard against distraction but also multiply your focus.

Single-tasking -focusing on one task at a time-can make you up to 80% more productive than splitting your attention across multiple tasks. Plus, when you know you have time set aside later for checking email or replying to Slack messages you're less likely to give into the FOMO these tools create.

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There is no perfect method for everyone

There is no "one size fits all schedule" for maximum productivity.

Because we all have particular strengths and weaknesses when it comes to time management and productivity, what works...

The Time Blocking Method

It involves planning out your day in advance and dedicating specific hours to accomplish specific tasks. 

It’s important to block out both proactive blocks (when you focus on important tasks) and reactive blocks (when you allow time for requests and interruptions).

The Most Important Task Method (MIT)

Instead of writing a big to-do list and trying to get it all done, determine the 1-3 tasks that are absolutely essential and then focus on those tasks during the day. 

You don’t do anything else until you’ve completed the three essential tasks.

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The Distraction of Digital Technology
Email, chat apps, social media, and other tools can be just as productive as they can be distracting. How do we get the most out of the good parts of technology while protecting ourselves from...
How technology became so exhausting

We spend all day staring at screens, read books on Kindles or iPads, and come home to relax by watching a movie or TV.

Digital technologies lump together the good with the bad.

Digital minimalism defined

As Cal Newport defines it, Digital minimalism is:

“A philosophy of technology use in which you focus your online time on a small number of carefully selected and optimized activities that strongly support things you value, and then happily miss out on everything else.”

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