“Got a few minutes to chat?”, your boss asks as you were about to start working on that big project you keep pushing back.
But you know it’ll take take more than a “few minutes.” It always does.
Turns out, scheduling out your daily tasks like you would for a meeting can help you realize how much time you actually spend on projects and helps other people understand when you don’t have time for office “side quests.”
It’s a method called “time blocking”
Here’s how to do it, according to time management expert Kevin Kruse:
- Consider the “Friday effect”: Most people typically work slower at the end of the day or week, so don’t kid yourself into thinking you’re going to knock out a 10-page white paper at 4pm on Friday.
- Give yourself a buffer: Add blocks of extra time between tasks so, when you go over time, it doesn’t blow your whole schedule.
- Treat it like a power hour: That means putting your phone on “Do not disturb,” and giving a project your undivided attention. If you think of a new task that needs to get done, make a note and address it when time’s up.
- Flex a little: Don’t beat yourself up when your best laid plans go awry. The point of time blocking is to be more cognizant about how you use your time, not to maintain a rigid system.
Remember, there’s no silver bullet for productivity but this is an easy way to keep a level head and not stress over growing to-do lists. Or at least justify that 2-hour post-lunch nap.