It’s the first day back after a bank holiday. Have you panicked over your mounting task list yet? Or glanced over at your colleague’s impossibly tidy workspace and realised yours wouldn’t even fit the paper to write a task list? Same. Anyhow, even the most unorganised of us will likely work off some sort of to-do list. And while they are helpful, the issue is they can be their own source of anxiety; all those as-of-yet untouched must-do meetings, emails and the rest. More often than not, they simply act as a reminder that you will never have time to complete the thing.
But as writer Gwen Moran recently explained in Fast Company, there’s another way to do things: a strategy called “time-blocking” that offers all of the organisational help of the to-do list without the associated dread. It essentially boils down to reversing the process: Instead of giving every task a designated number of hours, give every hour a designated task.
Instead of writing a list of tasks that take as long as they take, with a time-blocked approach, each of these time periods is devoted to a task or tasks. It immediately lets you see where you’re being unrealistic about your time and keep yourself focused on what you’re supposed to be doing. This means you have more accurate feedback on how much free time you have most days and how long certain recurring tasks take.
You might work through things at a slower pace, but you’ll get tasks ticked off and can leave the office feeling as smug as the colleague with the shiny, tidy desk.