in Cognitive Wisdom, Prism of Life, Productivity

It’s all About Having Intention in Your Schedule

Most people are terrible planners — and I don’t claim to be an exception by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, I used to be so bad at planning that I can be listed among a handful of rare people to have missed their flights on more than a couple of occasions. 

After deliberately getting deep into the topic of planning disasters, I came to know that psychologists have a name for it — the planning fallacy. 

The planning fallacy refers to an optimistic prediction bias in which people underestimate the time it will take them to complete a task, despite knowing that similar tasks have typically taken them much longer in the past.

The planning fallacy is a definite pointer to the fact that people, in general, are overly optimistic about planning. You can candidly look at innumerable instances in your life that validate this assertion. Come on; you can’t lie to yourself.

All the uncertainty during the recent pandemic combined with the unpredictability of the global economy, coupled with the strain of adjusting to new realities of work, childcare, and school, have almost turned everyone into a frustrated soul. 

As if that was not enough, the information landscape dominated by emotionally supercharged social media somehow seems to have developed a habit of churning out content that stokes fear, anxiety, and depression. Thereby making us look like someone who is always exhausted and emotionally drained. 

Against this backdrop expecting to have long-term planning for at least the most critical aspects of your life can seem a little ambitious, but believe me, that’s the only way to regain sanity in your life. 

There is no way you can reclaim a life of focus until you reclaim your brain from the distractions that have preoccupied it in recent months.

One way to do just that is to start Using “Time Blocking” As a productivity tool. Doubts?— There are 5 Good Reasons — 

5. Keeps You on Track

Most people sensitive to the idea of daily productivity prefer to have a “To-Do” list at their disposal to get through their day. It gives them an ostensible impression of being efficient with their time. 

However, this casual approach of filling your time with scheduled meetings and calls while reacting to emails when you feel bored with your usual stuff is not a recipe for having a productive day.

The time blocking method, by contrast, expects you to fragment your days into blocks of time and assign specific work to these blocks. Once you assign specific works to these time blocks, then you protect them with a vengeance. 

For example, you can time-block your schedule for “pivot strategy” from 8:00 to 10:00. After a 10:00 to 10:30 meeting, you can put aside 10 minutes to reward yourself with “shut-eye.” Then you can hop on to twenty minutes for checking email and other correspondences, followed by a clear ninety minutes, from 11:00 to 12:30, when you’ll try to complete an “important write up” that’s due soon, and so on. 

The idea is to have a written account for every minute of your time.

4. Prevents You from Taking Unplanned internet Breaks

Time blocking harnesses your limited reservoir of energy and centers it on your specific tasks. It’s productivity’s most incredible power tool.

Everything else other than the specific tasks assigned on the different blocks of time — like paperwork, meetings, calls, correspondence, and other stuff — must wait for the end of the allotted schedule to have a look in.

If disproportionate results come from devoting your time to it, then it makes sense to give those activities your disproportionate time.

If you’re focussed just on “trying to get things done,” it’s easy for your mind to crave unplanned internet “breaks,” which have a way of transforming into time-sucking rabbit holes. This hurts the total amount of work you wish to accomplish within your daily work schedule.

Because you know what you’re supposed to be doing at any given moment, you’re much less likely to take unplanned breaks. Time blockers, in other words, don’t find themselves in the rabbit hole of web surfing.

3. Keeps a Balance Between Urgent & Important

This scheduling commitment by using time block also provides you hard evidence on how much time is available with you and how long things really take—therefore giving you fine-grained control over the balance between the urgent and the important. 

Since you’re not letting other peoples’ needs drive your activities, you wouldn’t end up feeling busy and exhausted even after completing a day’s work that seemed engaging.

Actually putting the time block in the calendar makes the plan real in a way that daydreaming doesn’t. Suddenly, you find yourself executing a lot of ambitious plans over a very short period of time. 

2. Brings More Awareness & Presence in Your Daily Life

Escaping from a world full of distraction to relish the pleasures of presence and awareness are crucial preconditions to a focused life. To achieve this, you need to start focusing your attention on intention and purpose.

Time block helps you in moving in this direction. For example, it might help you in finding a regular time to reflect on what to focus on in your work and a more serious commitment to directing your free time towards more rewarding activities. 

In fact, time blocking will help you set the needed tone, a signal to direct your newly empowered attention.

Give your work the concentration it needs and more often than not you’ll be rewarded with more presence with your family while rediscovering the pleasure of having high-quality leisure time — a pathway to get on with living deeply.

1. Directs Your Free Time Towards More Fulfilling Activities

The primary reason time blockers get so much more done is because their average intensity of focus is quite high compared to their semi-distracted peers. Such concentration, however, takes a toll. So you do not want to extend this blocking discipline to your time outside of work, as this excessive rigidity will eventually lead to burnout.

The best part of following this schedule is once you’re done with your daily block of time, you’re free to devote the rest of your time to everything else.

And getting “everything else” done may help you sleep better at night. And in most cases, we often struggle to get one of those better sleep at night. 

We often forget that everything needs rest to function better, and you —  my friend is not an exception. 

Concluding Thoughts

One of the best tricks to get “time blocking” work for you is to start blocking “your time off” before blocking your time for the most important activities. 

You may be tempted to ask why the time off gets precedence over our essential activities.

Well, the answer is straightforward — you can’t sustain success in your professional life if you keep neglecting your personal recreation time for long.

Take time off by blocking out long weekends and extended vacations, then actually taking them once they’re due. You wouldn’t be surprised to find yourself more rested, relaxed, and rejuvenated afterward.


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