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  • 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.

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MORE IDEAS FROM THE SAME ARTICLE

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 ...

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 .

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 ...

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

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.

  • 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.

As Deep Work author Cal Newport writes :

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

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

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

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.

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