Time Blocking — An essential way of productivity

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I have been remote working for the past 6 months. Our company was having a water-cooler day and someone introduced the concept of ‘time blocking’ and how it helped him to stay more productive. I got interested and started using this technique. So here I am sharing my experience with you in this blog, read through and let me know your feedback 😉

Research Work I did

Elon Musk is an example of someone who can manage time well and can work upto 100 hours a week. If we look at Elon Musk’s office hours it looks very busy. How does he manage all of these?

Old Companies He Owned:

  1. -Zip2, X.com / Paypal

Currently Owned Companies:

  1. SpaceX (Made from scratch, for continuing Space Exploration and doing what NASA couldn’t, Known for Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy), Tesla (Bought, known for Model S and leading car company in Electrical Vehicles), SolarCity (Made from scratch, known for being one of the biggest sellers of clean, solar, electricity), The Boring Company (Made from scratch, most known for Flamethrowers.), Hyperloop (Made from scratch, known for planning and designing underground transportation because rush hour sucks), OpenAI (Made from scratch, known for researching futuristic technology that will be safe for humans, unlike such predictions from movies like Terminator.), Neuralink (Made from scratch, known for trying to enhance the Human Brain and body with AI/Technology in a safe way)

Yes, and he still manages to take time out for his hobbies, family, and fitness! You can watch a short video on YouTube where he describes his time table : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYA8mxvXZos

Why did I use Timeboxing?

Well for me the answer was simple, being in a remote environment led me being interested in productivity hacks. The hack was easy and sounded achievable and I gave it a go! But if you are searching for reasons I would also mention productivity is the defining word of the modern workplace. So if you use your time properly you can achieve goals and most importantly track them through this process.

What is Timeboxing?

Timeboxing is the seemingly counterintuitive time management strategy that can help you stay focused and make progress” — toggl.com

High level definition: The word timeboxing stems from Parkinsons law. This law states that work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.

Simple Definition: Take up a task, set a time frame and see how much work you complete in the time allocated. With this method, you’ll exploit every second of attention by guiding it straight to the task.

How hard would it be?

Timeboxing is an easy method because our minds adapt to it the more we use it. It would take a couple of days but you can easily adapt to it. With timeboxing you’re training your brain to work quicker and harder.

So a quick tip which I used was I set rewards for myself while practising this method. For every 50 minutes I spent — I use go have that cup of coffee reward, or read a bit of my favourite book reward set. But it totally depends on you.

To understand the concept of Timeboxing I read this blog Deep Habits: The Importance of Planning Every Minute of Your Work Day as well.

Important Part: How to do it?

A lot of the framework was figured out by organisation so we had a lot of productivity tools to use like TeamWork, Confluence and so on …

But for those who does not have access to the tools, you can always use this method here is a guide

  1. Take a notepad write down the bigger tasks
  2. Split the bigger tasks into smaller tasks which will help you achieve the bigger task
  3. Set yourself the ‘time’ on the calendar
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Let me break this up in more detail. I also made a separation between “work mode” and “leisure time”. Second separation was between “thinking about” and “working on” tasks. These separations I thought were more realistic.

Time blocking variations

  1. You can go for a day theme approach. This is what I applied according to my schedule:
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My personal take is when I day themed my schedule, I was looking forward to the Execution Day and how effective will that be.

  1. Applying time batching to this plan was the perfect direction to it. Task batching is when you group similar (usually smaller) tasks together and schedule specific time blocks to complete all at once. For example:
  2. Emails, Social Media, Research, Meeting, Writing, Coding, designing

Scheduling two tasks in 20-minute blocks to check social media during the day is more efficient than checking your inbox every 15 minutes.

Apps to Rescue:

I could recommend using 30/30 from Binary Hammer. This app is a task timer check out the features below.

  1. Gesture-based interface
  2. Fully customisable task list: label, time, icon and color
  3. Virtually unlimited number of tasks
  4. Options let you control how you are notified

Use this method of time blocking and task batching for a week, track and analyse — take control of your time!

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