My calendar was filled with other people’s meetings. Here’s how time blocking changed that.

In the time between meetings I sometimes managed to get my own work done.

I was using my calendar all wrong. First it was wide open and then it filled up with other people’s meetings. All of which were obviously important.

Time Blocking changed that.

The principle is simple: instead of starting with an open calendar, you start with one that is already booked full. If I estimated that a project for a client would take one day a week, I block one day every week for the duration of the project.

I also book Saturday and Sunday as ‘time off’

This doesn’t mean you can’t move time blocks. Sometimes it is nicer to work on a Saturday morning but then you have to find another slot in your week to trade with. This could mean spending a Monday morning reading in the park.

Time Blocking is about defending your time.

Productivity shouldn’t be about squeezing in extra work every day. It should be about doing the things you want to do and feeling good about it.

  1. I stick to three of four Time Blocks a day. Don’t split it up into 15 minute blocks or you’ll end up with a scattered calendar again.
  2. At the end of the day I usually have an hour for ‘mailbox zero and admin’ to triage new stuff.
  3. Cluster items on your to do list. I know I’m doing ‘bills, invoices and business admin’ next Thursday so those items will have to wait till then.

Maybe you’ll find it harder to fit all of your plans into a calendar this way. In that case: congratulations.

You have just started to think more deliberately about how you want to spend your time.