Although there are 24 hours in a day, doesn’t it seem like there’s never enough time to get all of your work done?
This is especially true when leading a team or managing a project. While time management techniques like time blocking can help with this, they can initially seem intimidating for some.
For instance, you may be asking yourself:
- How do I make a time blocking schedule?
- How do I block time without getting overwhelmed?
- What activities do I block time for?
In this post, we’ll answer these questions about time blocking and provide free templates you can use to take back control of your day!
Free time blocking templates
Use a daily, weekly, or monthly time block template, depending on your needs.
Daily time blocking templates
A daily time blocking schedule is used to block time for all your tasks within a 24-hour period. Some daily block schedules may only cover work hours (typically 8 hours).
Daily time blocking planners are best for planning short-term projects or specific tasks with fast turnaround times.
The daily block schedule templates below can be used in 15-minute, 30-minute, and 60-minutes increments.
15-minute time blocking template
This daily schedule comes in handy when you need flexibility or are working on tasks that require a short period to complete.
Reach peak productivity with this daily time block template:
Pomodoro time blocking template
If you prefer the Pomodoro Technique, this time block template is for you.
You can work on tasks for 25 minutes and take a break for 5 minutes.
30-minute time blocking template
This daily block schedule template allows time for each task in 30-minute intervals. While it is less flexible than the 15-minute time blocking template, it ensures that you can focus on tasks for more extended periods.
Hourly time blocking template
This daily planner template blocks off time in hourly increments. Just like the 30-minute template, it’s great for working on tasks that require extended periods of uninterrupted, focused work.
Weekly time blocking templates
A weekly planner blocks time for an entire week (including weekends). Weekly block schedules are best for blocking out time for sprints or projects that span several weeks.
Monthly time blocking templates
A monthly time blocking planner blocks out time for an entire month. It’s excellent for planning on a high level. It may not include granular details of daily tasks, but it works well for day theming.
How to use a time blocking template
- Begin by downloading your time block planner.
- Make a list of tasks you’d like to complete (hint: write down what you do every day) and how long they might take to get done, e.g., 1:1 meeting with Jess (1 hour).
- Use task batching to complete similar tasks within one block of time. For example, set a block of time to knock out administrative tasks like replying to emails and Slack messages.
- Block out time for the most important tasks around your peak hours (moments of high productivity) and batch other activities for other times in the day.
- Make sure to readjust your schedule if you are behind on some tasks and include time for breaks.
How to use a calendar for time blocking
If you prefer to use a calendar rather than a spreadsheet to time block, here’s how to do it in the Google Calendar mobile app:
- Determine the tasks you need to work on and the ones you’d like to work on.
- Identify the most critical tasks and assign them priority over lesser tasks.
- Create a block by clicking the “+” button and choosing Task from the menu.
- Input the name of the activity and then choose Save.
- Repeat this process for as many tasks as needed to fill your calendar.
Improve your team’s productivity with time blocking
Time blocking is a powerful time management technique. It enables you to prioritize and complete tasks while avoiding wasting time.
While the templates above provide an excellent framework for getting started with time blocking, they require a lot of manual editing.
A scheduling tool like Float lets you create tasks and automate your processes for less data entry. With all your project data in one place, you can drag and drop tasks to adjust their duration, or set recurring tasks to take place at the same time and duration each week, month, etc.
You can also track your time against scheduled tasks to compare your estimates to actuals for more accurate time blocking. Try Float for free!
What is the time blocking method?
Time blocking is a time management method that increases productivity by blocking out the allotted time to complete a task.
Although they are similar, time blocking and time boxing are different. A time block schedule system allocates a specific period to a task. No other tasks are worked on during that time.
Time blocking is effective because it helps you prioritize important tasks and avoid switching between multiple tasks.
What are the benefits of time blocking?
Time blocking helps eliminate multitasking (which has been shown to decrease efficiency). The result? You get things done faster and smarter.
Because every task has to fit within a block of time, the effect of Parkinson's Law– work expands to fill the time available for its completion –is negated. If you have scheduled writing an article for three hours, you know you have only three hours to complete it.
Cal Newport, a productivity expert and author of Deep Work, says that time blocking gives you control over your day. Instead of trying to clear off as many tasks as possible, you work purposefully through each available hour.
The final benefit of time blocking is in the data it provides. Your old time block schedules can show how you spent your time over a specific period, making it easier to track your time. You can then figure out what tasks took too long and how to optimize your hours.
What are some tips for time blocking?
Time blocking is an excellent method for getting more things done, but it doesn't have to be overwhelming.
- Try to give yourself space between tasks to avoid feeling like there's too much to do. Or consider using the Pomodoro Technique to work for 25 minutes and then take a breather for 5 minutes. It's also a good idea to schedule blocks for any unexpected tasks.
- Refrain from scheduling every minute of your day for serious work. You can schedule time for rest, family, or even walks! Remember to schedule some free time too.
- Batch your most pressing work during your productive hours. If you are a morning person, you can get to your desk early and get started on the tasks. If you are not, you can block out time for deeper work later in the day and begin with less demanding tasks. If you're a parent, you can schedule more intense work when the kids are in school.
- If something takes longer to complete than anticipated, Newport suggests adjusting your schedule. You can move less urgent tasks to the next day. "The goal is to make sure you always have an intentional plan for the time that remains in the workday."
- Tracking your time on tasks with a timer (which you can do in Float) can help you understand how long tasks actually take to complete. This will ensure you time block more accurately and better forecast your capacity for future projects.
- Not sure what activities to time block for? You can time block work activities and even parts of your life like doing the dishes or family time. Depending on what you want, you can also time block on weekends. Time blocking helps you be more intentional about how you spend all of your time—not just work hours.
How do you block time in Excel?
To create a time block schedule in Excel:
- Create a new Workbook.
- In the columns, fill in the times you want to schedule for, e.g., 6 a.m.-6 p.m.
- Use the number format function to convert the time into the format you want, e.g., hh:mm AM/PM or hh:mm:ss AM/PM.
- Then fill in the tasks in the corresponding rows. For example, you can put a task like Morning routine in the first row and allot one hour to it. Repeat this step for all your tasks until you have your schedule.