Sometimes, we feel lost. We don’t know what to do next with our lives, or even what to do next to survive our day. This is when having a daily approach in mind comes in handy. You may be a stay-at-home mom, a house husband, a travel vlogger, a student, or a professional—you need to have an idea of what you are going to do today for it to have a clear direction.
You might have a lot of tasks on your plate and you try to be perfect with everything you have to do which makes multitasking even harder. You lose productivity and in the end, you feel stuck and lost. A strategy must be in place so you don’t find yourself stuck in a wormhole. What you need to do is to take control of your daily schedule but how do you achieve that exactly?
Why not adapt a habit from the billionaires of our generation, Elon Musk, and Bill Gates? These two are known for managing their time through what is called "micro-scheduling." What that means is accomplishing a task for the day every five minutes. It entails breaking down your schedule into blocks of time so that your productivity will be high and you get to finish more tasks.
How Time Blocking Works
If you are not familiar with it, time blocking has been a known time management technique. It is also referred to as "monotasking" or "time chunking,” which means you’ll be blocking off a period of time to finish a specific task. There should be no distractions at all.
For instance, you will designate a particular time of the day for checking emails. You could not go to any other site before finishing reading and replying to all of your messages. There should also be an allotted time for your social media browsing. You could not go to Instagram or Facebook at any time of the day just because you want to. You have to be strict not to open notifications when they pop out. You could turn them off or just turn on notifications for important contacts you need to be in touch with. You could still be flexible, of course, but the ideal setup is that you do only one specific task for a specific block of time. Your schedule of the day will be broken down into blocks of time where a specific activity is allotted for. You have to finish this activity first before you can move on.
In this way, you will have control over the daily tasks that you need to finish before you go to activities that you need to unwind. The technique will help in sharpening your focus and finally, hopefully, ending your procrastination era. You will get to cross off things in your to-do list and at the end of the day, give yourself a tap on the shoulder for being able to accomplish even just one task.
Multitasking Isn't Effective and here’s why
Productivity is often linked to multitasking. There are skilled multitaskers who are able to simultaneously do a lot of things well. This isn't the case for the majority. Around 2.5% of people are skilled at multitasking while the rest just have an illusion that they are good at it.
Doing one thing at a time, for instance, taking a client call while you are finishing a project report, there is a high chance that you are working less than your optimum in both activities.
Studies have also proven that multitasking is less productive and people who fall into the pit of it are prone to distractions. They are likely to commit more errors and are not able to remember details and instructions properly. The results are most probably going to be compromised because your attention while doing it was divided. Doing tasks with complete focus will yield much better results.
Moreover, it is also not true that you fulfill more tasks when you multitask. In reality, you finish work less because you are unable to focus and tend to drag out each task which makes it harder and longer for you to finish.
Using Time Blocking
When you feel like you’re stuck in a rut, time blocking, as a time management technique, might just be the answer to your problem. When you focus on one project at a time, you give your full attention to it, and chances for you to commit mistakes are little to none. You get to see the big picture of what you need to do and what you have already done. Below are some tips on how to block your time throughout the day:
1. Write specific, detailed tasks on your to-do list.
At the start of the week, make a rough outline of what you have to accomplish for each day. Write down everything including family dinners and commitments to friends. The day before, write specifics under this rough outline so you have a checklist for the next day. You have to be fully aware of the telephone calls you’ll be taking and how long you’ll need for each. You need to know as well the time you need to prepare your meals. Highlight the tasks that you should prioritize and could not be put off to another week. About two or three for a day is enough so that you don’t go overwhelmed and you will be able to finish all of them.
2. Create your blueprint to follow for the day.
Once you’ve laid out your priorities, allot how many minutes and hours you need to accomplish each task on your list.
This is the part where you create the time blocks such as allocating an hour to prepare breakfast for the family and another thirty minutes to take the kids to school.
Remember that each blueprint will look different as it is reliant on your lifestyle. All you have to remember is to block off uninterrupted time for your priorities. Do not forget that you should also block time for scheduled office meetings, doctor appointments, and travel/commuting time.
You might need a new blueprint every week if you live a fast-paced life. Do one that will work best for you. Control your schedule and also be open to adjustments if something unexpected comes up that you have to attend to.
3. Divide a big task into many days.
When you’ve determined how long it will take to finish a big task, then you can break down tasks for it to be completed in a span of days. You might have a client presentation of a big project due on Friday. If you decide that you need four hours of focused time to finish it, then divide your hours into two days: two hours of writing your script on Monday and another two hours of putting it together in a presentation on Tuesday. Another hour on Wednesday can be allotted for peer evaluation and another hour on Thursday for you to implement last-minute changes.
4. Be strict with your time.
There will be things that will come up unexpectedly. Be open for changes when this happens so that you don’t get stressed about it. If it’s not urgent, take note of it first then attend to it later, after you finish your task on your priority list. You have to strictly follow your time-blocked schedule.
It will be easier for you to follow if everyone you are in constant communication with knows that you are unavailable at this specific time. Do not be interrupted by co-workers, bosses, or family members.
5. Do not hesitate to invest in tools to make you more alert and productive.
Use height adjustable standing desks instead of sitting desks to keep your mind awake and focused on one specific task. You won’t be tempted to fall asleep at any time and you are forced to stand up in proper posture. Invest in ergonomic products that will reduce pain and help boost your productivity and efficiency.