Time is the most valuable resource that any of us have. It’s even more valuable than money. You can get more money but you cannot get more time. Yet most of us seem to forget how valuable time is and often spend it without being productive. I include myself in that at times. In today’s distracted digital world, we waste a lot time doing things that aren’t beneficial for us. This leaves us with the feeling of not having enough time, when we have more than enough time!
It’s ironic: most people spend more time on unimportant things and then worry about not having the time to do the important things! This is why time blocking is a crucial time management tool to implement in our lives. Time blocking is essentially blocking out a specific amount of time, where we are unavailable to attend to other things because we are focusing on a specific thing. During this time we block out all distractions and hone in on the task in hand. It’s about dedicating specific time each day/week to achieve a specific goal.
The first and arguably most important benefit of time blocking is improved focus and alertness. I have recently finished a book – The Inner Game of Work – of 229 pages in less than a week. Time blocking has been the key to this. By setting myself 30 minutes of undisturbed time each day I have been able to focus completely on reading and understanding/absorbing the content. This has led to me retaining much more of the content and feeling super productive afterwards.
Time blocking has improved my general focus and alertness and can improve yours too. This is because time blocking literally trains our minds to focus for a set amount of time, as challenging as it can be at first. Imagine it: your phone is out of reach and either off or on Do Not Disturb and your timer is set for 30 minutes. How much better would your focus be? How much more work would you actually get done? I’m 99% sure it would be more than the option of having your distracting device within reach. One thing I noticed that I’m sure you will too is that we have the capacity to focus much more than we think, simply by time blocking and removing distractions.
Just like our bellies, our brain needs food to perform at its optimal state too. Time blocking is one way to feed our brain because it trains our brain to focus better. This naturally helps in other situations that require deeper focus, allowing us to perform better. However time blocking also helps us to set and achieve a target – more brain food – research shows that our brains are wired to seek completion and the pleasure it brings.
Our brains release dopamine when we achieve goals and since dopamine improves attention, memory, and motivation, even achieving a small goal can result in a positive feedback loop that makes us more motivated to work harder going forward. And time blocking makes it easier for us to achieve the goal because it improves our focus, resulting in greater productivity.
The last benefit of time blocking that I wish to discuss is my favourite: clarity. By dedicating a specific time to working on a specific task, we know exactly when to do it and don’t have to worry about figuring out how we can fit it into our day. How many times have you woken up, aware of the many tasks that await you but unaware of when to actually start them? Time blocking eliminates this problem as it provides you with a specific time to work on the specific task.
Contrary to popular belief, a routine actually gives us more free time. I’ll write that again. A routine gives us more free time. Why? There is less time thinking about what to do and when to do it, and more time making use of time – through clear time blocks.
Thank you for reading.