• Jessica Pettingill


Boost your productivity by utilizing time blocking techniques to set up your schedule for success this year.

Times are a little crazy right now, to say the least. A lot of our plans have been abruptly cancelled. But that doesn't mean we can't still be working towards our goals and managing our time better this year.

Take Inventory of Your Time

The first step to managing your time better is to first know where your time is going. Create a journal, excel sheet or note on your phone and keep track of how much time you spend on daily activities like getting ready for work, commuting, social media, checking emails, doing important work assignments and doing "busy work".

What are you wasting time on?

On average, people in the U.S. spend about 2 hours and 33 minutes on social media everyday. That's a big chunk of time down the drain. When you add in watching tv, checking emails and long commutes to work, we start to see that a huge chunk of our days are spent doing things that don't get us any closer to our goals.

Ever wonder how some people seem to accomplish so much, yet others seem to struggle just to keep their heads above water with their daily tasks?

The truth is we all have the same number of hours in the day. What makes a HUGE difference is where we spend those hours.

It's time to rein in the time wasters.

Once you've been tracking your time for a week or longer, go back to your journal and pin point your biggest time wasters.

It's easy to delude ourselves into thinking that by constantly being 'busy' we are being productive. However, it's important to acknowledge the difference between productive work (moves you in the direction of your goals) and busy work (doesn't get you any closer to where you want to be).

Now that you know where your time is going, it's time to figure out how to reduce the time wasters. Some things can't be controlled (at least right away) such as commuting to work or jobs that are unfulfilling and full of busy work.

Although if you feel unsatisfied at work or have a long commute, it might be time to make finding better, closer work a goal to work towards.

Other drains on our time can be controlled though. Take checking emails for example. Give yourself a specific amount of time at a certain time of day to check emails. For example, I give myself 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening for this. If you need more time than that, that's ok, just make it intentional.

A little bit of social media is ok, but often times it's all too easy to let it get out of hand. Try to budget yourself around 30 minutes or less for social media. Sound impossible? Give it a try! Trust me, it gets easier with time.

Set Those Goals!

What are your goals?

First and foremost we need to get clear on what we want to accomplish before we can accomplish it right?

Make a list of your short term (1year) and long term (3+ years) goals. If setting goals is new to you, it may not be clear what you even want your goals to be. Take some time to think about it if you need to.

Is this helping you accomplish your goals?

Think about the things you do on a daily basis. Are these things helping or hindering you? Are your daily actions bringing you closer to your goals? If not why? And how can you make changes?

If you've dreamed of traveling the world but find yourself constantly broke you first need to figure out why your actions aren't aligning with your goals. Maybe you don't make enough money and need to start a side hustle instead of watching tv or surfing the internet when you get off work. Maybe your spending habits need to be reined in a little.

From now on as you go through your days it should be much more clear what actions are helping you and which ones need to be cut.

Instant Gratification vs. The big picture

Another important part of setting goals and sticking to them is recognizing the benefits of the big picture.

One of my long term goals is to buy a house. Although the instant gratification of going on a target shopping spree sounds oh so appealing, I know that the patience of saving for the future far outweighs the excitement of instant gratification.

Time Blocking For the Win!

Now that you've realized where your time is actually going and gotten clear on your goals it's time to set up your daily schedule.

Break up your days into larger chunks.

This should be the main categories of your day. Here's what mine looks like:

Between 4am -8am Is my morning block

During this time I do my morning routine more details on my morning routine here, clean, do school work and get ready for the day.

Between 8:30am and 6pm I go to work.

Between 6:30 - 8:30pm is my evening personal time to eat dinner, work on my business and get ready for the next day.

8:30 - 9:30pm is my night block. During this time I wind my day down, do my night routine and go to bed.

Now that you have the main categories of your day worked out ask yourself how much time you currently spend in each category and how much you would like to spend in each time block.

Maybe you'd like to have more time in the morning or work less hours. What can you do to change where your time is spent? Add these things to your goals list!

Break up your large categories into smaller ones

What types of tasks do you have to do in each category?

Let's take my morning time block for example:

  • 4am - 4:30am Morning Routine.

  • 4:30am - 6am School Work

  • 6am - 6:30am Breakfast

  • 6:30am - 7am Workout (I've been using daily burn lately while the gyms are closed and it's full of great workouts!)

  • 7am - 8am Get ready for the day

Now, repeat this process for each block of time.

Tip -

Some tasks might happen everyday while others only once a week. Add a time buffer in to your schedule for those unexpected or infrequent tasks that tend to pop up.

Tweak your new schedule as necessary. Just like with a financial budget, time blocking takes time to figure out. Make corrections as needed.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to mess up. Sometimes I fall off my schedule for a week and that’s ok. The important thing is that you get back into it. Recognize that you made a mistake and keep moving forward towards your goals.

New habits take time to master, on average 66 days. Be patient with yourself. Be flexible. Things come up that we weren’t expecting. That’s just life. Adjust your plan as you go and keep chasing down those goals!

Managing a hectic schedule doesn't have to be so stressful. Take inventory of your time, set goals, and intentionally budget out your time using time blocking techniques. You have the power to be in control of your days. Using these simple time management techniques you can create your goals and schedule to empower you. Good luck and happy hustling!

Hi! I'm Jessica.

I'm just a normal person sharing the lessons I've learned from life so far. I somehow manage my hectic work, school and personal schedules all while staying organized and writing this blog. I am a computer science major with a passion for graphic design. If you're interested in hearing my organizational and lifestyle tips as well as the awesome things I get from target sometimes, then feel free to sign up for my email list below.

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