Calendar blocking

An image of a screen with Google Calendar on it

It is incredibly difficult to get things done if you don’t even know what you’re doing. Calendar blocking has truly been the most productive practice that I have implemented daily.

If you are unfamiliar with calendar blocking, it is a time management strategy where you reserve a specific amount of time for an activity, event or set of tasks in your calendar. How does it work? Parkinson’s Law is the idea that work will take up the time you allocate for it. Hence, by allocating a certain time to complete tasks, you are ultimately giving them a deadline.

As someone who juggles multiple commitments, calendar blocking has been a huge help. Here are some tips I have learnt:

  • Block your calendar in advance. As soon as I know when my classes are or when I'm working, I will put them straight into my calendar. Then, when I am setting a meeting or finding a time to hang out with friends, I can work out at the start of the week where there are gaps. 
  • Batch all of your similar tasks together. Boring cleaning jobs, quick email responses or repetitive uni tasks can all be smashed out in one go.
  • Be aware of your energy levels. My family can tell you that I could happily sleep for half of a day, but early morning starts for class or work have taught me that I am somehow the most efficient in the morning. So, I typically try to put harder tasks—such as working on an essay—in my morning slots. I usually have no energy at all around 4-5pm so if I don’t have anything on at that time, I like to do easy tasks like sending email responses. Everyone works differently, so work out which times work best for you!
  • Remember that you can’t account for every minute of the day. Make your calendar blocking accurately reflect this by leaving time for meals, breaks and commuting.
  • Use a calendar system that works for you. I absolutely love my Apple Calendar and I use it to colour coordinate my classes, work, and other commitments. For others, Google Calendar may be your best friend, or even the humble pen and paper.
  • Most importantly, block in times for rest! Calendar blocking is not about using every minute of your day to being productive but rather, managing the responsibilities you do have. Don’t forget to still give yourself time to socialise, relax and SLEEP!

For more information about calendar blocking, you can find many resources online like videos by the productivity queen Amy Landino.

Tagged in What messes with your head, Productivity, study