I feel like I’m living my best life when I’m well planned. Proper planning allows me to complete tasks in a timely manner. It also gives me the time I need to accomplish my personal priorities too. If you’re a homeschooling mom who struggles to find the time to “do you”, consider using time blocking. It’s my favorite productivity tip!
The great thing about time blocking is that it works with both digital and manual planners. It works for adults, teens, and children as well. Let me give you some background and explain how I make time blocking work for me.
What is time blocking?
Time blocking is a time management system in which you purposefully set aside time to accomplish a particular task. Typically, a 60 to 90 minute interval will give you time to dive into a task and make good progress. For smaller tasks, a 30 minute interval can work well too.
Why use time blocking?
I use time blocking because it provides a specific amount of time to focus on ONE specific task. I no longer have to choose between or among tasks. Time blocking gives me the ability to work on all my tasks because I have created a time block for each one. Throughout the week, I work during multiple time blocks so I can complete many tasks in several different areas.
What do I do during my time blocks?
- Grade and plan material for the outside classes I teach
- Prepare homeschool lesson plans and activities
- Plan my family’s weekly menu and grocery lists
- Organize drawers or closet
- Clean out the refrigerator
- Do an at-home pedicure
- Respond to email
- Paint my nails
- Take a nap (Yes, really.)
How do I set up time blocking?
Whether you’re a Google geek like me or a paper and pencil planner like my friend Belinda over at a Blessed Heritage, time blocking can work for you. Here are the steps I take to make time blocking work using Google, but you can tweak the procedure for use in a paper planner.
- First, I open Google Keep (Google’s note taking app) and create a list of tasks I need to accomplish during the coming week. It’s important to note that the only tasks I list are the ones that will need at least 30+ minutes of uninterrupted time. I don’t use time blocking for tasks that take less than 30 minutes to complete.
- Next, I write down how long I think it will take to complete each task. It’s important to be realistic when estimating how long a task will take because I want to have enough time to get things done. If I have a larger task, I break it down into smaller tasks and schedule time blocks on multiple days. This gives me plenty of time to complete the task without getting stressed. It’s also important to note that I never schedule time blocks back to back. (I find I lose focus if I do so. My brain needs a rest.)
- Then, I open Google Calendar, create a new event inside my Time Block calendar, and give it a name (such as Grade Class Essays or Editing Chapter 1). I set the amount of time based upon how long I previously noted it would take to complete the task.
- When scheduling the time block, I set reminders at 60, 30, 15, and 5 minutes before the time block begins. These reminders let me know it’s almost time to start working. I also use the note section of the event description to describe what I’ll be doing during the scheduled time block.
- At the scheduled time, I sit down and work on the scheduled task and nothing but that specific task. When the time block is over, I stop working. If I underestimated the amount to time it took to complete the task, or if I ran into a difficulty that lengthened the amount of time it took to complete the task, I don’t worry. I simply create another Time Block so I can finish the task a later time.
It’s just that simple! If you like this post about household organization, please check out this additional post: 6 Ways To Use Google Calendar This School Year.