As a full-time college student who also works part-time, I can find it hard to schedule and organize my day. I have found it even harder to prioritize now that all my classes have gone online. After trying various methods of trying to organize my different tasks and responsibilities, I have found time blocking to be the most efficient form of time management.
What is Time Blocking?
Time blocking is a time management method where you “block off” your day. Each block is allocated to completing a certain task or group of tasks. Unlike a running to-do list where you mark off things as they are finished, time blocking allows you to dedicate a certain amount of time to work on each task.
Fun fact: Elon Musk uses this method to help him run his two major companies!
Why Time Blocking is Beneficial
It is a simple way to add structure to your life. It also is an effective way for you to take control of your day. Time blocking can be especially helpful for those who:
Have long-term projects/assignments
Struggle with various interruptions throughout the day
Juggle many responsibilities or projects at once
Find yourself in reactive mode; responding to emails, messages, texts, etc.
Blocking your Time
Now it’s time for you to sit down with your favorite paper planner or electric planning app. I personally like the Day Designer planners, since there is a schedule on every page for each day. I also find it handy to have an electric planner, in case you're on the go, Google Calendar is great since it syncs on all your devices.
Prioritize your commitments
Go through and add in any prior commitments, such as meetings, appointments, and hard deadlines. Next, go through and determine which tasks are higher on your list. Allocate them to your most productive time of day, whether that being morning or afternoon.
Set your daily schedule
Now go through and block out the rest of your day. You can be as specific as adding your morning and night routine, or lenient to where you just add academic or work obligations.
Fill out the rest of the day
While filling out your schedule, be sure to add buffer time between your blocks. It can be hard to have a strict cut off time, so make sure you allow extra time in between blocks. Also factor in things such as travel time if you need to drive to an appointment. Once you are done, your schedule should look something like this:
Insert to-do list within your time blocks
Once you have blocked out your day, you can then go in and add a specific to-do list within the blocks. Todolist is a great tool that connects with your Google Calendar and lets you add individual to-do lists in each of your blocks!
Revise as needed
Obviously not everything goes as planned, so as things come up, revise your schedule. Also, at the end of the week, take some time and reflect on how your blocking for the week went. Did you find it productive? Did you allocate enough time for all tasks to be done? This is a draft that can constantly be adjusted to your needs.
About the author: Makahla Stout is a junior at Virginia Tech where she is studying Fashion Merchandising and Design. While being involved on campus she also works part-time doing digital marketing.