It can be so difficult to accomplish everything you need to in a workday. It’s hard enough when you work in a physical office. But if you turn to a home office, your workflow changes and it can be even more difficult to stay on track.
One productivity method that many swear by is time blocking, sometimes called calendar blocking. With this technique, you plan your entire day, including personal time, put it all on your calendar, and stick to it.
Time blocking isn’t for everyone. So, if you’re willing to give it a try for a better way to manage your time as well as see where all those hours go, we’ll show you how to set up time blocking in the Calendar app.
Schedule your mandatory hours
To get started, you’ll schedule in obligatory activities you do each day. And remember, time blocking can be used in a physical office, home office, or even for stay-at-home moms.
Begin by scheduling your basic work hours which you’ll break those down into pieces later. If you work from 8AM to 5PM Monday through Friday, for example, put that on the calendar.
With that time blocked for work, you can add in other mandatory time around those hours. For instance, if you work from home and take a 30-minute walk before work each day, add that into your calendar.
Create repeating events
To make it easier, you can create a single event and then make it repeat for the remainder of the work week. For our example, we’ll set up our Walk event on Mac.
1) Create the first event as you normally would with the start and end times.
2) Open the details for the event. You can do this quickly by right-clicking the event and picking Get Info.
3) Click Repeat and then pick Custom.
4) For Frequency, select Weekly. For Every, leave it as 1, and for the days, click each day Monday through Friday.
5) Click OK and then Apply.
Now when you look at your Calendar, you’ll see that Walk event on every workday, for every week.
You should do this for all mandatory time you have each day. As additional examples, you may spend an hour on your exercise bike after work or have to start dinner at a certain time each day.
Whatever these obligatory activities are that you do routinely, add them to your calendar. And, you can use that Repeat feature to get them all set up regularly.
Break down your workday
Now that you have your mandatory events created, you can break down your workdays into chunks of time.
You may spend the first hour of each workday responding to emails that came in overnight, the next hour on a video conference with your team, and then move onto specific work duties before lunch.
Add all of these events in as their own time blocks. And again, if these are routines that occur each day or always on specific days, use the handy Repeat feature. Be sure to also include time blocks for breaks and lunch time.
Add optional alerts
While you don’t have to set up Calendar event alerts, this can definitely help let you know when it’s time to move onto the next activity.
1) Select the event and open the details.
2) Click the Alert drop-down box and pick At time of event. You can also select 5 or 10 minutes before start to give yourself time to wrap up your current task.
3) If you set up a repeating event as described above and you want this to apply to that and all future events, click All Future Events.
Wrapping it up
Time blocking is useful for many people as a way to manage their time better. This method can also help you see where every hour is spent and make adjustments if necessary.
If you aren’t sure if time blocking will work for you, you might start with just a single day or week of events and then expand from there. This can be a good way to see if time blocking is helpful.
What are your thoughts on time blocking? Is this something you already use, are going to give a try, or have already tried it and discovered it wasn’t for you?