The Benefits of Blocked Times on Your Calendar for Priority Tasks
Staying busy must not be confused for getting stuff done.
We’ve all been there at some point. You view your calendar and notice that you have more on your to-do-lists than hours in the day. For the best in benefits of your calendar, you need to block times for certain tasks. This will avoid the stress and frustration that comes with the ineffective ways you have managed your time in the past and help you remain productive. Time-blocking can be used to save the day.
Time-blocking, in simplest terms, is dedicating a segment of time on your calendar for a specific task. This allows you to focus on that particular task only, which improves your productivity. Kevin Kruse, author of 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management, rates time blocking as more effective than to-do-lists. His research found that high-performers never talked about their “to-do lists,” but instead discussed how they organized their calendars.
There’s also a psychological benefit from what is known as the Zeigarnik effect. This basically states that “we remember what we haven’t done better than what we have done, and uncompleted tasks weigh on us.”
According to Kruse, “This can lead to stress and insomnia. However, when we have all of our tasks placed into a specific date, time, and duration, we sleep more soundly knowing everything that needs to get done is in its place.”
But, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Here’s even more benefits of blocking times on your calendar.
Related: 6 Ways Top CEOs Beat Procrastination
Blocking time gets you started and maintains motivation.
Getting started is often the hardest part of completing a challenging or unpleasant tasks. Thankfully, It only takes a moment of motivation to stop wasting time. Seeing that a task is scheduled for a specific period of time on your calendar is motivating -- you've made a commitment that make procrastination vanish.
If the task wasn’t important in the first place, then why did you even bother blocking out the time for it?
Focus on and efficiently complete your most important tasks.
At the end of the day, you probably sit back to ask, “What exactly did I do today?” When we don’t plan how to spend our time we are more vulnerable to being distracted by less important things.
By planning ahead and blocking out adequate time for the important tasks in our lives, we’re better track and complete our priority tasks.
I’ll say this over and over. Multitasking doesn’t work -- numerous studies have found that multitasking actually results in us gets less done because you’re draining the energy reserves of your brain.
Blocking time on our calendars encourages us to work on a specific task at a time. This not only prevents us from multitasking, it also allows us to have single focus on what we’re doing at the moment so that we can accomplish more in less time.
Additionally, when you stay focused on a single task for a specific period of time, you’re no longer bouncing back and forth between multiple tasks. This makes you more efficient since you’re wishing your more wisely.
Encourages healthy work-life balance.
Maintaining balance in my daily life is a challenge -- as I’m sure it is for you. But, maintaining that balance is crucial to staying motivated and productive. Blocking out times allows me to schedule “me” time to reflect, recharge and improve myself both mentally of physically. It also permits me to leave certain blocks of time out for unexpected events, such as family emergency or finishing a project that’s taken more time than expected.
This way I can attend to that unexpected event while not pushing aside another important task that’s previously been blocked out.
Also, blocking out times strengthens the relationships in your life. For instance, blocking out the time to spend with my friends and family ensures that I spend adequate time with them. Professionally, it gives me a chance to make phone calls, respond to emails, or schedule meetings.
Improves your physical and mental health.
Our health is obviously improved through exercise, eating healthy, getting enough quality sleep, reducing stress, and taking breaks. Of course, that’s a challenge when we overcommit ourselves.
Not only does that increase our stress, it also limits the amount of time that we have in a day to attend to our health. That’s why you need to schedule times for exercise, eating, and sleeping so that you stay in tip-top shape.
Block out times for you to stay mentally sharp. Block out times from reading, harnessing a skill, or learning something new.
Helps you say “no.”
Are you a people pleaser? If so, then you probably also say “yes” when asked to do something. The problem is that this can make you overwhelmed. Even worse, it prevents you from getting your most important things completed.
By blocking out time, you know whether or not you have the time to say “yes” when asked for a favor or taking on a new task or client.
Getting started with time-blocking.
If you’re new to time-blocking, make sure that you first pay attention to cycles. This includes knowing when you’re at peak performance and being aware of outside forces.
For example, if you’re a morning person, then block time for your most challenging tasks in the A.M. Or, if you know that your office is a circus on Monday afternoons, then you may want to have some flexibility in your calendar to allow for disturbances.
Also make sure that you allot enough time so that you’re running late or jumping from back-to-back tasks or meetings. Block 30 minutes out between tasks just in-case you run over or need a breather to recharge.
And, eliminate distractions by turning off notifications and making sure that your calendar is flexible.
This article originally appeared on entrepreneur.com