Time blocking will make you find time for everything
Time blocking doesn’t just work for your job. Finding time for social activities, appointments (medical, accountant), chores, and hobbies also can be difficult. With time blocking, you can make sure you don’t neglect them as well. Schedule when to stop working and set aside time for family, friends, and yourself.
Time blocking promotes focused “deep work”
There are at least two types of job-related activities: deep work and shallow work. In general, deep work is creative, strategic, and analytical. Shallow work is logistical and paperwork that is necessary but does not require deep thought.
Time blocking promotes focused “deep work,” a term coined by Cal Newport in his book of the same name, subtitled, “Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World.” Deep work, Newport writes, are “professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that pushes your cognitive capabilities to their limit … create new value [and] improve your skill.”
Work that needs to get done but doesn’t help to fulfill your long-term goals is considered shallow work. Answering emails, returning phone calls, and online chatting with colleagues are often examples of shallow work, though there are exceptions.
Shallow work is important but it can distract from deep work. For example, checking social media may divide your attention for up to 30 minutes. Time blocking helps you limit the amount of time you devote to shallow work.
Examples of Shallow Work vs. Deep work
||Reading (most) emails.
||Checking social media.
|Writing in-depth high-quality content.
|Developing a long-term strategy.
||Communicating with colleagues on messaging apps.
It makes it easier to say “No”
An important goal of time blocking is focus, and that means learning to say no. Entrepreneurs and politicians agree on the importance of saying no, but many people have a hard time doing it. Reasons include fear of conflict, fear of disappointing someone, and maybe even fear of being fired.
Time blocking shows how your time is scheduled. When asked to take on a new task, having your time blocked out can give you the backing you need to say no with a clear conscience.
It discourages perfectionism
In 1955, C. Northcote Parkinson codified his famous law, “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” One reason may be fear of running out of things to do, or laziness (Why work harder/faster than I need to?) but another is perfectionism: The more time we work on a project, the better it is likely to be.
That’s not always correct, but even if it were, we have other things to work on. Blocking out a set amount of time encourages you to spend just so much time on a task rather than trying to make it perfect.
It encourages you to plan ahead
Sometimes when we start a task or set a goal, we not only underestimate the time it will take but the preparation and planning required. Putting it in writing and setting a firm deadline increases the chances you will complete the task on schedule.