I Tried Block Scheduling, and It Completely Changed My Productivity

In today's hustle-minded society, it seems like everyone is juggling 1,000 tasks at once. While we all have a lot on our plates, it can be hard to stay productive when we're working nonstop in order to complete our chores, achieve our goals, and — on top of all that — practice self-care. If you're anything like me and you're sick of adding more and more bullet points to your never-ending to-do list, I encourage you to consider block scheduling.

A few months ago over some much-needed after-work cocktails, my friend casually mentioned how block scheduling had helped her decrease her workload. Needless to say, I was immediately intrigued and wanted to learn more. While I have always been good at multitasking, it was hard for me to focus on just one single project at a time. Upon further research, I learned that both Elon Musk and Bill Gates are fans of block scheduling. And while I'm by no means a technical genius (or a billionaire), I was inspired to try block scheduling for myself.

So, what exactly is it? Block scheduling is when you set aside specific blocks of time to work on certain tasks. The result? It was a total game changer for my time management and stress relief. Here's how you can do it too:

1. Figure Out What Organizational Tool Works Best For You

How do you work best? Personally, I rely heavily on my Google Calendar. (Do my friends make fun of me for sending calendar invites to happy hours or — in this day and age — Zoom hangouts? Yes. Do I care? Not one bit.) On the other hand, some of my friends love using planners or journals to draw out their block schedules. Some even use a combination of both! My point is, find the system that works best for you. If you're not sure, think about how you like to take notes at work or in class. Do you prefer the traditional pen and paper method? Or do you type up everything on your laptop? However you choose to map out your blocks of time, make sure you have a visual to see what you'll be working on and when.

2. Start Prioritizing Tasks

Knock out the most important and pressing tasks first before moving onto anything else. That way, you have time to readjust your schedule accordingly should any unexpected issues arise. And even if something does come up later in the day, you'll still be grateful you accomplished your toughest task early on. This will also help you avoid procrastinating, because, let's face it, we've all been there.

3. Set SMART Goals

To set yourself up for success, you need to identify your goals. First, ask yourself what you're looking to achieve. From there, set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) goals. Afterward, set aside a block of time each day (or week) to work solely on achieving those goals. For example, if you want to start meal prepping on a weekly basis, break up your day into chunks. From 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., go grocery shopping. Take an hour-long lunch break from noon to 1 p.m. From 1 to 3 p.m., prep ingredients and cook your meals. From 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., store away your dishes and clean up your kitchen.

I know block scheduling may seem overwhelming at first, but I can assure you it's worth it in the long run — and it'll save you tons of time so you can focus on doing the things you want to do.