question and answer about time blocking

By many, time blocking is considered the best time management and productivity technique that they use on a daily basis. It may not be for everyone though. We’re going to go through some Q&As about time blocking to see if time blocking is for you. Though, the best way to find out if it’s right for you is by actually trying it out for a week or two.

What is time blocking?

I talked a bit about time blocking in a previous post on productivity. Time blocking is when you put all of your to-do list tasks on your calendar and block out time for each task. You can do this on a daily, weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly basis. The easiest way is to do it is on a weekly basis but still look over and update your calendar on a daily basis.

This technique helps you be more proactive and get your to-do list done. It also helps prevent procrastination because you only have a limited amount of time to get something done, so you better start!

How do you estimate the time that each task will take?

It may be difficult to know how long a task could take to complete. My answer is to just put an amount of time that you are willing to spend on the task. As you do this every day, you will get better at estimating time. However, always, ALWAYS leave wiggle room between each task/time block. You should assume that everything will take longer than expected. It usually always takes longer than you thought, right? It’s a nice surprise when something doesn’t take as long, but it’s rare when that happens, at least in my experience.

What do you do when unexpected things come up?

Unexpected things come up on a weekly, if not daily basis. Obviously, we can’t really plan and schedule those in. What you can do is have a general plan for the unexpected:

  1. Leave wiggle room between each task (the same tip as for the previous question) – about 30 minutes is a good starting point.
  2. Leave empty blocks of time throughout the week. These blocks can be used for those unexpected things OR to catch up on previous things that had to be pushed back.

What if I don’t get everything done that is on my calendar?

If this happens, then you didn’t leave yourself enough time to complete your tasks. All you can do is adjust your time blocks for next week and move on. BUT for next week, remember to not put too much on your daily schedule! Be realistic about what you can get done on a daily basis. This will help you avoid disappointment and stress. After all, this technique is supposed to be helpful, not stressful, but it may take some time to learn how to make it work for you.

Is there any flexibility with this technique?

Time blocking is supposed to provide structure to your life, but you can also make it as flexible as you need. To make your calendar more flexible, add more wiggle room between your time blocks and add empty time blocks. The empty time blocks can be used for anything: catch up on tasks that didn’t get done or if everything was done, then use the empty time blocks to relax!

Do I also have to schedule time for family, friends, and relaxation?

Serious time blockers do schedule everything, including family, friends, and relaxation time. I can’t tell you if you should or shouldn’t do the same – you do what works for you. If you do struggle with time management really bad though, then I would suggest to try time blocking everything and see how productive you become.

I do time block fun events and me-time if I know about them ahead of time. I also remember to leave a good amount of wiggle room around those things because who knows how long they will take!


Do you have any other questions about time blocking? Leave them in the comments below!