A return to time blocking

Posted on Feb 22, 2021

Back when I was a teacher, I was a huge believer in time blocking: planning your day and marking certain hours for certain activities. It made total sense for me back then. I knew when I’d be in a class, I could estimate my travel times, and setting boundaries on lesson planning helped overcome Parkinson’s law. But after transitioning to work for a corporation in marketing, I had stopped time blocking. At first I had tried to use time blocking principles, but I found the days were too changeable and I’d often have to suddenly drop what I was doing for something else. It didn’t seem to make sense.

Now I’m managing a team, this trend has got worse and yet I’ve decided to return to time blocking.

Why return to time blocking

Although I have less control over interruptions (with more coming from above and below), that is precisely why I need to block certain time for what Cal Newport calls “deep work”. If I am always in reactive mode, with inboxes open for any interruption, then I never really engage with my work properly. And while there is some amount of instability I’ll never be able to prepare for, I can predict certain parts of my week (for example, when I need to review some content before it’s published and when I’m more likely to be messaged). I also need to create some blocked off times and the only way I can do that is by planning. If I hope a time of concentrated, distraction free work time will magically arise, it never will. I have to make it.

Time to begin

So I’m using the daily plan bar in my Leuchttrum bullet journal again. I’m intrigued to see how this experiment goes but I’m hopeful. I know that there will still be interruptions and my plans will never be 100% realized, but I’m confident it will be better than going in blind.

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