When you’re planning fun events with your friends or loved ones, many of us love adding these events to our calendars. But unfortunately, it’s far too easy to lose track of time without keeping track of our important dates, events, and occasions.
While adding personal events to our calendars is an excellent habit, many forget to add our own important self-imposed goals. We often think that we’ll remember and “get to it later,” but this often results in disappointment.
For example, a famous phrase discusses how failing to schedule things results in them not getting done. This couldn’t be more relevant when it comes to our most important goals and priorities. Blocking time on our calendars where we work exclusively on our most important goals and activities is absolutely critical in today’s busy world.
In this guide, we will walk through several time-blocking methods and tactics you can use to ensure you make time for your goals. Once you begin scheduling these activities into your days, you’ll be far more likely to work on your self-imposed goals consistently.
Theme your days
When your mind constantly switches from one activity to another, it takes mental effort that can wear us out rather quickly. One of the solutions to this rapid “task switching” that allows us to conserve mental energy and be more productive over time is to practice “day theming.”
In short, theming your days means that you only work on a specific type of task each day of the week. So, for example, you can have a day of the week where you only focus on creative tasks or another day where you catch up on errands and reply to emails or other communications.
Compiling similar tasks together and choosing which days you’ll work on each particular type of task is a great way to boost your productivity. You’ll also likely find yourself getting less tired, as you aren’t spending mental energy trying to work on entirely different tasks one after the other.
Overall, “day theming” is an effective way to get all of your self-imposed goals finally worked on, especially when you batch similar tasks together and hold yourself accountable.
Timeboxing is a method of time blocking where you limit the amount of time you can work on any particular task. So instead of giving yourself infinite time to work on a single item throughout the day, for example, you’ll limit yourself to 90-minute time blocks.
The psychology behind “timeboxing” has to do with time scarcity and deadlines, where your limited time forces you to do things more efficiently and get more done. For example, how often have you procrastinated on a task and only started working on it at the very last minute? Whether or not you’ve ever delayed tasks until the deadline creeps closer, using timeboxing eliminates the need for this altogether.
Timeboxing is a great way to “trick” your brain into thinking you have less time than you actually have, getting you moving. When it comes to your most important goals in life, we always want to move forward and progress one step at a time.
As an additional bonus, timeboxing lets you schedule breaks between focus blocks, ensuring you get adequate rest and feel refreshed going into the next “timebox.”
Batch Tasks Together
Task batching is very similar to theming your days but at a much more granular level. For example, when you theme your days and only work on a specific type of task every day of the week, you’ll often be categorizing each task broadly.
Task batching allows you to take all of your tasks for the day and very carefully and methodically determine similar and repetitive actions performed within each task. In short, you’ll be “reverse-engineering” each task you have on your list and coming up with the most efficient combinations of activities.
This might take a bit of time to set up initially, but the end results are well worth it. Once you get proficient at batching tasks together, you’ll be far more likely to conserve more mental energy throughout the day. When you save mental energy, your mind will be sharper, and your work will be more effective as a result.
List Your Day’s Top Priorities
The first step towards successfully time blocking your most important goals and activities is to list all of your day’s top priorities. Depending on your preference, this can be done the night before or very early in the morning.
After you’ve listed all of your priorities for the day, please take a moment to rank them from most important to least important, and think about what activities would have the highest impact. Thinking through your priorities and goals is essential if you want to consistently accomplish and work on what’s most important to you.
After your priorities have been ranked and identified, schedule time blocks for your most important priorities first and work on them first. Brian Tracy refers to this practice as “eating the frog,” where you first do your most challenging task. Do this consistently, and you’ll get more done in the morning hours than most people will get done in an entire day!
Set Aside Time for Deep Work
“Deep Work” refers to a mental flow state where you’re at your highest productive capacity, also referred to as “getting in the zone.” When was the last time you were in the zone, completely free from distractions, and working on your most important tasks and goals? If it’s been a while since you’ve been in a deep work state, now is the perfect time to think about how you can get back into the habit!
One of the most important aspects of deep work is setting up your environment to allow you to be free from distractions and only focus on your priorities. It’s far too easy to get distracted these days and knock yourself out of that flow state, sometimes before you even begin.
It takes time and effort to “get in the zone,” but your productivity instantly jumps ten-fold when you do so. By deliberately scheduling periods of “deep work” on your calendar, you’ll be able to concentrate more and get far more done than you ever have before.
Working on your most critical self-imposed goals day-to-day can be a challenge. Fortunately, there are multiple ways you can leverage your calendar to simplify the process and make it far more likely for you actually to work on your goals consistently.
We’ve discussed several methods that can be done, including theming your days, using “timeboxing,” batching together the tasks that are alike, listing your day’s top priorities, and setting aside time for “deep work.” These are effective and proven methods for using a calendar to reach your goals.
Using these techniques regularly, you’ll find yourself expending less mental energy, getting into a “flow state” more often, and accomplishing more of your self-imposed goals than you ever thought possible! Implement these pointers into your life, as it’ll be well worth the effort in the long run.
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