The Simple Technique that Helps Me Be Insanely Productive Every Single Day
Time blocking is a simple technique, but it can give you a huge productivity boost! Grab our free printable and start making the most of your time!
Back-to-school season is one of those times of year when we swear we’re going to get it together. We’re going to be so organized and productive, and everything in our life is just going to fall into place, right?
Unfortunately, by a few weeks in (aka now! 😉 ), all of our good intentions seem to fall by the wayside, and we end up slipping back into old habits. I would always fall into this cycle too. But then a few years ago I discovered a productivity technique that has been a total game changer for me.
How to Increase Productivity with Time Blocking
I’ve talked about this technique on the blog before, but I think it’s helpful to bring it up again at this time of year. Because maybe, just maybe, it will be the thing that will help you be productive all year long, not just at the beginning of the school year.
It’s time blocking.
Time blocking is when you take your to-do list and assign tasks to a specific time of the day. You literally plan out your whole day hour by hour.
But doesn’t time blocking feel limiting?
I get it. When I first heard about this technique, I thought it would feel too strict. Planning out every second of my day?! That sounded a little extreme. What I found, though, was exactly the opposite. It was actually kind of freeing.
You see, I love organization, but I naturally tend to be kind of scatterbrained.
I will be working on one project and remember something I have to do, so I leave in the middle of project #1 and try to complete project #2. Inevitably, I remember something else I need to do. So while projects #1 and #2 are sitting there halfway finished, I start project #3.
By the end of the day I have a bunch of half finished projects and don’t really feel like I’ve accomplished anything.
Can any of you other creatives out there relate? 😉
What time blocking does for me, then, is frees up my brain to work on one project at a time.
How Time Blocking Frees Up Brain Space
If I’m working on something and remember an email I need to respond to, I know I have time blocked out later in my day to answer emails. This allows me to continue with the project I’m working on and handle the email during the scheduled time. I’m no longer dashing from project to project.
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Time blocking also limits my distractions. If I only have 30 minutes to complete a certain task before I need to move on to the next item on my list, I know I don’t have time to scroll through Facebook or Instagram. I need to focus!
Time blocking keeps me on task, which means I’m wasting less time and accomplishing more.
Staying on Track with a Pretty Printable
Of course, when I discovered how helpful time blocking could be with productivity, I did what I always do– I made a printable!
When I use the printable, I start by listing all of my “to dos” for the day in the box at the top. I usually break my list into three categories– home, personal, and blog.
Then I also write down anyone I need to contact and use the box on the bottom right to jot down anything I need to buy. After that, I move to the time blocking section, which is broken down by hour.
I first put in any set appointments or commitments I have that day, and then I add in my to-do list tasks in the remaining time slots. Everything on my list gets assigned a time.
Then at the end of the day, I look back at how everything went. I use the small box at the bottom to reflect on what went well and where I could improve.
It’s Not Going to Be Perfect
Can I tell you a secret? My day almost never goes exactly how I have planned it out. Life happens! My kids need my help. Something takes longer than I think it will. I get interrupted by a phone call or get stuck in traffic.
But that’s okay.
Having a goal, something to shoot for helps to motivate me to stay on task and accomplish what I set out to accomplish for the day.
Whatever I don’t get done can be put on tomorrow’s list, and I can start all over again. It’s great to be productive, but we also need to give ourselves some grace! 🙂
You can learn even more about my strategies for time blocking and productivity in this interview I did with Forbes.
A Free Printable for You!
Of course, I wouldn’t just dangle my very favorite printable out in front of you without giving you the chance to snag it for free, so you can download it below!
[Click here to download the Planning My Day printable!]
You can also get a week-long time blocking printable here.
[Psssttt… Did you know that we have more than 65 types of free printables on the blog?! See them all in our free printable library!]
If you think time blocking would help you become more productive, be sure to pin the image below so you can refer to this post later!
Do you have any tips or tricks for being more productive throughout the day? I’d love to hear them in the comments below!
everything you do is so perfect! thank you for inspiring me every day!
You are the sweetest, Heidi! Thank you so much! Hope you have a wonderful week!
The idea of time blocking is new to me….AND I LOVE IT!! Thank you for the wonderful ebooks and charts you create!
Thanks so much, Meg! So glad you love it! 🙂 Hope you have a wonderful week!
Along with the rest of the world, I am working on getting more organized in 2016. 🙂 I just printed a 300 page blogging planner this week and was trying to figure out a way to organize my day. This is PERFECT! Besides, it just looks dang adorable! Thanks Abby!!
Aw, thank you, sweet friend! Sounds like you’re ready to go! Happy planning! 🙂
Hey Abby! I love this approach so much, so I’ve started using it myself in recent weeks! I’d love to see one of your sheets all filled out with a random/typical day for you! And how do you keep yourself moving from one task to the next, do you set a timer? What if something takes you longer than you expected…do you adjust your day as you go? I’m finding that even when blocking out my time and writing down tasks, I still get bottled up when things take me longer than normal!
Hi, Megan! I have a filled out time blocking sheet in a previous post if that would be helpful: https://justagirlandherblog.com/how-i-organized-my-whole-life/ . I typically just keep an eye on the clock so I know how much time I have left. If something takes longer than expected, I usually have some items that don’t have to be done right then, so I cut those out and focus on the necessary tasks that absolutely have to happen that day. There are never enough hours right?! As I’ve time blocked longer, I’ve gotten better at figuring out how long things actually take, but it can still be a balancing act for sure. Hope you have a wonderful week!
this is beautiful and i love the print outs. i agree, my day is NEVER how i plan and that IS ok 🙂 Glad I came across your blog on the linkup! Hope you stop by mine as well!
you described me perfectly! …. start 1 thing and remember another, etc, etc! 2016 will be different! when do you suggest filling this out? each morning or the night before?
Glad I’m not the only one! 🙂 I usually fill mine out the night before so I can get going right away in the morning! Hope you have a great week, Katie!!
What a great idea! Although like you said it seems so restrictive, but I’m sure if I gave it a try it would work out…my problem would be, I would slate every moment of the day and just say screw it, I want a nap, haha.
LOL! Naps are tempting, I must admit! For the most part I’m able to resist, but sometimes a great nap is just the thing my day needs! 🙂 Have a wonderful week!
Abby, your blog is a little piece of sunshine! Thank you! You always make my day.
Thank you so much, Anne! You are the sweetest! Hope you’re having a wonderful week!
I love your story and I’m dying to get an answer to the question no one gives me an answer straight forward instead of directing me to services or other posts.
1. I have a very different way I make my beach products then I see others posts because it takes a day to make, whatever weather conditions are to set the baskets then to decorate them so about a week of making at least 3. And that’s only my sea kelp baskets. I have my own projects and expanding on my business in so many directions.
2. I started a blog last year for my own personal experience and growth in business.
3. Behind my scenes of the list of as everyone says a business planner which really how can I.
4. I also have to travel to get my materials.
5 I’m having major back surgery but until then I suffer from extreme pain and I’m forced to take pain pills which cause me less productived.
6. I did this for my own personal growth and I never except to have over 50,000 views with only 54 posts.
7. I had a set back this new year Google has some problems not being private on browsers which I got almost all my posts deleted but it’s a good thing because I can make them better than before and I have enough for 3 mos.
8 I’m not in it for money but not so I have any extra to put into it.
9. I have more intricate designs and atistic skills that I’m advicing in my crafts and products which will start making me more of a professional artist/designer.
Now all that plus behind everything to do to post items and etc. How do you think I’m not getting myself able to find a way to plan?
Do you make every one of the crafts on each posts? Of not what are the guidelines? Because all mind are my own and if they are all yours how do you do it?
At the end I do what to me successful and I have an awesome reputation but I’m always feeling like others make me sound like I’m just not planning right or that I have to much to do so give up. Which I don’t want to. I’m just looking for some giudenes without having to pay for it.
I hope you understand.
Hi, Michelle! I’m not totally sure if I understand what you’re asking, but I’ll give it my best shot. I think you’re wondering about time management and how to get it all done? You are totally right– creating projects and turning them into blog posts takes a lot of time. I try to balance project posts with posts that are less time-intensive, like ones where I talk about an organization technique that I use or share a printable, which I can make fairly quickly. So maybe instead of making every post a project, you could do some that are projects and some where you can share tips and tricks on your topic using photos you already have. That can cut down on your time.
It also helps to hire out things that others can do for you once you’re able. At this point my husband is working on the blog full time with me and my sister works for us part time as our assistant, so they work on a lot of the back end stuff, which frees me up to create the content. I hope this helps! Have a wonderful day!
Hi Abby, you were one of the first blogs I started to follow. You just amaze me with everything you publish. Keep up the good work. It’s a pleasure to receive every new post by e-mail, I look forward to reading them.
Thank you so much, Kelly! Your sweet comment totally made my day! <3 Hope you have a wonderful week!
Thanks for all the freebies. You have a great site.
Thank you so much, Vickie! Hope you’re having a wonderful week!
January is a terrible month 🙁 Nothing is going on plan. Laziness and disorientation every single day… I tried making to-do lists but not by hours. May be I should, it might help 🙂
So sorry it’s starting off a little rough for you! I hope the time blocking technique will be helpful! Have a wonderful week!
Thanks for sharing this great template, it’s always hard to find a great agenda and it’s next to late to start being organized.
You are such an inspiration! I’ve been searching for ways to organize my scattered brain in order to become more productive and here you are. Your posts are perfect! Thank you so much for sharing all of your tips and tricks.
Aw, so glad they’ve been helpful! LOVE to hear that! Hope you have a fabulous week! ~Abby =)
This is a great idea! I love being productive & super organised so I can’t wait to give this a try! 🙂 Thank you for the free printable too Abby!
I’ve started trying to do time blocks but need to do a better job of estimating how long tasks will take. With three little ones, it always takes me longer than I think. I love your printable! It’s way cuter than my scribble on a scrap sheet of paper! 🙂
Thanks for the printable! I think I will be teaching my kiddos to use them!
Hi. I just started following your blog. I am a very or at least try to be organized and structured person. My question is about time blocking. Do you have a suggestion on mutitasking. I get up each morning, start laundry, empty the dishwasher, get the kids up and breakfast, throw the load from the washer to the dryer, start the next load, clear the breakfast dishes, hop in the shower, and the list goes on. I know you had indicated to stick with a task until it is finished before moving onto the next job. Any suggestions would be great. I do about 4 to 5 loads of laundry a day and I seem to get those done. However I don’t seem to get to my intense cleaning and organizing. Would love to hear from you.
Oh girl, I hear you! The struggle is real! I was trying to incorporate the deeper cleaning into my everyday routine, and it always seemed to be the thing that I never got to. We ended up deciding that on Saturday mornings, my husband would take the boys somewhere for a few hours, and that would be my dedicated cleaning time so I got it all done in one chunk. I hope this helps! Have a great week, Kathy!
Yes! Time blocking is my favourite. I find it really easy to get stressed about all the things I have to do, and wonder how on earth I’ll fit them all into my day. Time blocking helps immensely with this, because I can assign a time to everything on my list (prioritising the things that MUST be completed that day), look at it, and realise that, yes, I *do* have enough time (or, sometimes, I don’t, and then I know right from the start that some things will have to be pushed to the next day). It’s definitely my favourite resource for making use of my time and avoiding to-do list-related stress.
It is like you are in my head when you were talking about starting one project and being distracted by another and another! I just sat down yesterday to try to time block my day and it even though it didn’t go perfectly, I felt a lot more productive. I have high hopes for this technique! Thanks for sharing this great template. Just curious, do you plan out your day the night before or the morning of the new day?
can you buy them?
Hi, Erin! Are you interested in the printable? It is free and you can click on the link in the post to download it! https://justagirlandherblog.com/productivity-and-time-blocking/
I really need to try this time blocking thing. I get so distracted trying to do a million things at once. It is not efficient, and I always forget something! Lol I am such a scatter brain too. Time to buckle down!
Aw, hope it’s helpful for you, Sahvana!
Hi 🙂 I just started following your blog, and it has helped me a lot to be more organized. Thanks!!
Yay! So glad it’s been helpful for you, Maria!
I can def relate! I did that for about 3 months and started to think I would never get anything done. So now I time block in addition to a few other strategies. I learned to keep it simple and stay focus. In today’s world we all have a ADHD tendency.
I just love your blog it was recommended for me to check out.. Awesome. I have bookmarked your site.. 🙂 Love it! I too am scatterbrained.. lol..
Aw, thanks so much for stopping by, Francine! Hope you’re having a fabulous week!
Abby, excellent tip! I’m also very scatterminded and have a lot of unfinished projects because keen to start a new one. Will print it out, thanks for sharing!
I’ve been doing this forever! I always numbered the hours down the side of my page. If something comes up, and distracts me during that hour, at the top of the next hour, I get to work on the next thing. Just keep swimming.
Yes! It really does work so well! Have a great weekend, Ellen!
Love your blog and your videos Abby. Quick question, do you know if there is any way to adjust your printables to fit a personal sized agenda? I would love to use them in daily agenda. I think the page size is about 6.7 x 3.7
Hi, Laura! I don’t think that it’s possible to adjust the size of the printables after the fact. (Though there certainly could be programs that I don’t know about!) We have printables that are half size in our Simplify ebook (https://justagirlandherblog.com/organize), but I don’t think they would be as small as you’re looking for. :-/ So sorry about that! There may be some Etsy sellers that make some in that size? It would be worth a check!
Thank ypu so much for this article and printable.❤. This is going to really help me. I’ve printed so many daily schedule printable PDFs its ridiculous and still was having problems conquering my to do list. But now with this one, were u re pretty much doing a ” brain dump” at the top and then the schedule all on one sheet is phenomenal. I feel even more productive aa im.pri ting it. Lol.Thanks again?
Yay! So glad it will be helpful for you, Simone! 🙂
Your blog is a little piece of sunshine! Thank you! You always make my day.
Thanks For Sharing 🙂
You are so sweet! Thank you so much, Alexa!
Just discovered this blog and I may have read most your website already ?.
I’m sure all those free printable that I’ve downloaded, will be really useful.Thanks!!!
I’m so glad they will be helpful! Thank you so much for your sweet words, Salyee!
Time blocking is the best! It helps me be realistic about what I can actually do in one day, rather than having a huge to-do list and feeling bad when I don’t complete it. Thanks for the printable!
Great tip, I am the kind of person that needs to learn how to organize my days better. I will try your time blocking technique for a week and see if it works also for me! Thanks for the tips
I hope it is helpful for you, Elisa! Have a great week!
Would I be able to use a few of your handouts via my teacher webpage for students to download and access?
Hi, Brandon! Feel free to share with your students! I hope they will be helpful for them! Have a great week!