Still wondering how the heck this time blocking and batching thing actually works?
So, you want to do time blocking and you want to do batching, but you can’t figure out how to actually make it work for your schedule… I’ve got you covered.
It’s all about getting more done with time blocking and batching. Time blocking and batching really go well together, and why wouldn’t you do both at the same time?
Time Blocking For Beginners
To start, make sure that you’ve identified the best time blocks for yourself. So when I’m talking about a time block, I’m talking about focused time. You can have any time block set, like 30 minutes for example. But if you’re not focused on a specific goal or task during that time then you won’t get as much done.
So figure out what your ideal focused time blocks are first.
For example, I can do two hours of focused work, back to back, no problem with a five-minute break right in the middle. That quick break lets me stretch my legs, have a drink, or get something to eat. Five minutes is all that takes and I’m not distracted or context switching which happens when you’re not practicing time blocking.
I have two-hour blocks scheduled throughout the day. Generally, it looks like four, two-hour blocks in my day with the first one from 8:00 until 10:00 AM. Then I’ll break for a half hour.
My next two-hour block runs from 10:30 AM until 12:30 PM. Then I’ll take an hour off. The last two time blocks are scheduled for 1:30 PM and then 4:00 PM, with a 30-minute break at 2:30 PM.
It’s about figuring out what works best for you.
If you’re working in a day job and also doing a side hustle, you’re going to have a limited amount of time. So you need to figure out what your time blocks are.
You’d probably choose smaller focused time blocks, like 30-minute time blocks, to allow you to get more stuff done. Those blocks might be in the morning and then a few as soon as you get home from work.
You need to figure out what that looks like for you.
Schedule Blocks Into Your Calendar
Next, schedule them into your calendar. I use Google Calendar to block those times and I color code them so I know what I need to be doing in those focused time blocks. You can assign the actual focused piece–whether it is side hustle related, whether it’s client related, whether it is personal related–with different colors.
Figure out what that is for you.
White Noise During Time Blocking
When you’re actually in your focused time blocks and find yourself distracted, I recommend you play music or white noise. That can help you stay focused on what you’re doing.
I use a couple of different sounds, each prompting my brain to prepare for certain tasks. I use the Focus At Will app. That app allows me to choose different sounds to increase my productivity.
So for example, when I’m writing a book in a focused time slot, I use the Cafe Sound on the Focus At Will app. It will play all these cafe sounds like people chattering and coffee machines going off in the background. It’s just white noise, but it tells my brain that I need to be writing. So that’s my writing track. It puts me in the zone and removes distraction. My brain is completely focused on writing and nothing else during this time.
But, if I’m creating images or editing or anything like that, then I’m using the Up Tempo Sound. That music has a solid beat and really up-tempo music. It tells me that I’m either editing or image creating or something less taxing, but not book related.
Train your brain
My mind and brain have been trained now to recognize that when those sounds are playing, that’s what I’m doing. It’s now very easy for me to switch into whichever mode I need to be in just by switching the background sounds.
So, that’s really what time blocking is. You block out time, schedule things into your calendar, and make sure it’s focused on the work that needs to get done.
Time Batching for Beginners
Time batching or batching tasks comes in when you have quite a few of the same things that need to be done. Doing them all together increases productivity.
Task batching works by reducing distractions and allowing you to stay fully engaged in one type of task for longer, preventing mental strain and training yourself to focus better. When you have a set expectation for each day you can better identify success and maintain a healthy work-life balance. Here are a few other tips to help you start practicing task batching from Turbo.
Take for example if you were writing blog posts for a client. It would be ideal to get all those blog topics ahead of time, ideally a month ahead. Then you could just write them all in one or two time blocks. That is batching your tasks at the same time so that you’re just doing all the writing all in one go.
In general, I am time batching on specific days of the week and doing all of the same things in one go. This is generally a task that takes me longer than a couple of hours to do.
So for example, as I’m writing this, it’s Monday for me and it is the first Monday of the month. This is when I record all my videos and write my blog posts for the next six weeks. So I dedicate the whole day to video related tasks.
I’ll do all the recording, then do all the editing, and then send them all off to be transcribed. That is all done in one day. I don’t have to worry about it or even think about it for the next six weeks.
That’s one of the things I love about batching and focused time blocks: being able to identify the consistently recurring things that are the same and assigning them a block of time. It could be either a focused time block or an entire day, but it makes the best use of that time. It’s like taking a mess, organizing it into piles, and doing something with each pile all at once.
The Benefits of Blocking and Batching Together
Ever since I’ve been doing both of these together, I’m more productive. I breeze through things a lot faster because I’m not having to switch my brain to opposing tasks. I’m not having to switch programs and I’m not having to switch locations. I’m doing similar things all in focused time blocks.
If you need more help getting productive, check out this free training. It contains so many productivity gold nuggets and a way to get super clear on your next steps.
Your action step is to identify your time blocks, make sure they’re focused, and then figure out where you can batch some tasks together. If you’re doing recurring things, that is the ideal time to then batch them together with a focused time block