Time Management: Blocks vs. Bursts

time management

 

It’s no secret that I LOVE planning and time management, so much that I’m making it a goal in the new year to coach other people in healthy routines, time management, and productivity. You may have seen my video about block scheduling and setting aside chunks of time for sets of related tasks. For example, I set aside certain times during the day in which I focus only on blogging.

I am passionate about block scheduling because I believe it’s the best method for staying focused and accomplishing tasks in a set period of time. However, not everything should be scheduled in longer chunks of time. Some things are better accomplished in bursts and short periods of focus, such as learning a language.

Here are 3 questions to ask yourself when you’re determining whether to schedule an activity in bursts or blocks:

 

#1. Do I need to retain new information?

Scientists believe that our memory improves if we study new information in short bursts of around 25 minutes with 15-30 minute breaks in between multiple study sessions, should we need them. If you are learning a language, studying for school, or doing other activities that require you to memorize new information, it is best to schedule those activities in bursts.

 

#2. How many tasks are involved in this activity?

Are you scheduling a long to do list of related tasks? For example, I need to write this blog post, create an image in Canva, and promote it in link ups. I can schedule all of that in a 60-90 minute block and accomplish all those related tasks at once. Multiple tasks that relate to a specific goal can be scheduled in blocks.

 

#3. Where does this task fall on my list of priorities?

Today my top three priorities on my to do list are virtual assistant tasks (’cause hey, I get paid for those), then blog tasks, then writing a newsletter for my massage therapy practice. I’m going to schedule the high-priority tasks in blocks because they require the most time, energy, and focus. Lesser priorities can be scheduled in bursts or shorter blocks around those big, important to do’s. Schedule the major stuff in blocks, if the tasks call for it.

 

While block scheduling is still my favorite way of managing my time, some things just don’t need 3 hours. Other things are best done in bursts to retain new information. Look at your to do list and assess which tasks are most important, need the most time and energy, or are related to one another. Those are your block tasks. Everything else can be hammered out in bursts throughout the day.

Do you tend to work in blocks or bursts?

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