Bill Gates and Elon Musk are just two people in a long list of the world’s most successful businessmen who have shared that they use time blocking management techniques to complete all of their commitments and accomplish complex tasks. If your schedule is also full of varied tasks, if your to-do list is so long that you have no idea where to start it, and if your mind is easily distracted, then time blocking is the solution for you. And with the help of time blocking apps, you’ll achieve your goals in no time.
What Is Time Blocking?
Time blocking is a time management technique designed to help you prioritize tasks, work on them more deeply, and gain control over your time with the help of a clear schedule plan. The main idea of this technique is to make the most of your day by scheduling every minute. All of your tasks, meetings, events, and activities need to be shown on your calendar in specific time blocks that you choose for each category.
The goal is to work on your task on the time block you scheduled in advance and finish it on that exact frame time. Keep in mind that it will probably take you some time to learn the difference between the time you think you need to schedule for tasks and the time you actually spend on them.
Time blocking will help you prioritize your tasks from different life categories, all under one calendar. Using this technique will also help you learn more about your work habits, improve them and get things done on time.
In a world where companies like Facebook, Twitter, Tiktok, news sites, and even software like WhatsApp are fighting for your time and focus, this technique will help you stop wasting your time and more wisely devote your attention at pre-set hours to work, creativity, social networks, leisure, workouts and more.
How to Use the Time Blocking Technique?
If time blocking is new to you, your first step should be writing down all your tasks that come to mind – both in work and personal life. Once you have done that, you will notice that some of the tasks have higher priorities than others. Mark the important tasks and those with a close deadline and approximate how much time you need to complete them.
The next step is defining your time blocks. It would help if you decided when to block time and for how long. For example, you probably want to block time in the morning hours for deep work and tasks that have a high priority. Still, if you concentrate better after lunch hours – maybe you would prefer to time block morning hours for personal tasks such as workouts and grocery shopping.
Defining how long you need to block time is up to you and your own ability to focus. Suppose you can focus for a long period of time. You can define a time block of 90 minutes. If that is too long for you, you can always reduce the length of the time block. Anyway, don’t forget you also need to schedule your break time!
Start acting according to your new schedule, but track all of it in real-time so you will know if some of the time blocks are too short or too long for your tasks. If so, adjust your time blocks and schedule the tasks according to the real-time results.
So, now that you know what to do, here are some time blocking apps that will help get you started.
Clockwise is a free app—a chrome extension—that will help you increase productivity by using a smart calendar assistant. Its main goal is to motivate users to maximize their focus and deep work hours. Using the autopilot clockwise will allow the app to optimize your schedule automatically. For example, you can rearrange meetings that you marked as flexible.
Clockwise will even move around tasks on your calendar if it identifies a conflict in meetings. In other words, this calendar will work for you and help you make the most of your time. One of its slogans is “make your calendar work for you.”
TimeBlocks is another calendar app that allows you to organize your work and personal life while analyzing the time you spend doing all sorts of tasks. Using this app, you can plan your to-do list, events, and meetings, and modify them easily by dragging items on the calendar from one time zone to another.
This app uses color coding, which makes it much easier for you to see in a glance how you divide and use your time during the week. You can define group-related tasks, meetings, and events by color and view your calendar in pie charts.
Clockify is a time tracking app that is great for those who want to use time blocking mainly for deep work hours. You can easily log your task, activities, notes, events, meetings, etc., and use its feature of a time tracker to start a timer and see exactly how much time you spend on your work.
With this app, you can categorize blocks by the type of work and tasks, compare between the estimated time you thought you needed to perform the tasks to the time that was really required, view visual charts showing the use of time and money, invite your team to work with you on the app, and track the progress of team projects in real-time.
Let AI do the hard work for you when using Skedpal. This app integrates with your existing calendar and allows you to add your tasks and to-do lists. Then, the app can schedule all of your tasks, meetings, and hour-work for you, according to your perforations of time frames, the time duration for each task, and your availability.
Don’t worry, you can always drag the calendar items to rearrange the tasks for your liking. You can also define time zones for specific work categories so that the app will schedule your tasks on those slots only instead of after work hours.
This app is made for simple and quick task scheduling. It focuses on straightforward planning on your to-do list and calendar, and the main purpose of the app is to help you save time.
On its website, Plan promises to users that teams using this app save an average of 15 hours a week. So, instead of spending your time managing work, you actually work. The app integrates with your google or outlook calendar, and all you need to do is add tasks, prioritize them, and then drag and drop items onto your calendar.
Timebloc is another productivity app that lets you organize your events and tasks by customizing them with colors and tags. You can create daily routines that will integrate into your calendar, edit your time blocks, set reminders.
In the premium version, you can also learn more about yourself from the statistics of your calendar. The statistics will show you how many hours you have spent on different categories—work, study, leisure, etc.—so that you can review, change, and improve the time you dedicate to each category.
Things is a task manager app with many great features. You can alternate between different calendars (personal, family, work, and more), create task categories, arrange groups of to-do lists, use a checklist, and track projects with pie charts. This app is a little less focused on the technique of time blocking but definitely goes hand in hand with it and will achieve the same goal—maximize your time and get things done.
There are many other time blocking and calendar management apps out there. Here are some that didn’t make the list but are still worth mentioning:
- Todoist – A task management app that can also help you create and organize ultimate to-do lists by categorizing tasks, defining deadlines, using color-coded flags, and more. The projects can then be scheduled in time blocks.
- Any.do – A task management app that can help you add and prioritize tasks in time blocks and automatically reschedule low priority tasks.
- HourStack – A time blocking app that will show you how much time you spend on tasks comparing to your estimates. It includes integrations to all of the major tasks and collaboration systems.
Time blocking is a great technique to improve your time management. It forces you to think how much time a task would require from you and helps you commit to a time frame to do it. It’s a wonderful way to improve the likelihood of getting something done.
Time blocking requires some self-discipline to actually do what you have committed to do, and this is where time blocking apps come in handy. But if you’re here reading this article, then it means that you already have that motivation in place.
More Time Blocking and Productivity Apps
- 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools (2021 Updated)
- 10 Apps That Help You Stay on Time and Remember Things
- 10 Amazing Online Apps for Focus and Productivity
Featured photo credit: Debby Hudson via unsplash.com