Time blocking is the perfect scheduling method for students. It will help keep you organized and on top of everything you need to do.
This post is all about how to start time blocking as a student.
What is Time Blocking?
Time blocking is a scheduling method where you set out specific blocks of time to get specific tasks done. Most guides on time blocking have you is blocking out every single part of your day – which sounds intense, right? I don’t actually do this, so this is an adapted method of time blocking that works for me and I think will work well for other students. My thoughts are if you block out every minute it’s hard to be flexible.
Why Is It More Effective Than Other Methods?
I have a very poor perception of time. I often underestimate how long a task is going to take and that messes up my schedule. When I’m time blocking I have to be more intentional with how much time I set aside, and it forces me to rethink how long a task will actually take.
For example, say I need to run to the grocery store after school before I get back to studying. In my head I automatically think that’s going to take about half an hour then I can immediately start studying again. But if I block in the time I remember that I have to account for getting there and back (20 mins each way) and if I’m realistic I’ll probably take about 20 minutes or so in the store. Altogether that’s an hour before I’m even home.
Time blocking helps you be realistic about what you can actually get done in a day.
RELATED: Time Management Apps For Students
How to Start Time Blocking
Work off a to-do list. Before you start filling out your calendar, put all your tasks into a to-do list. Having everything in a list makes it easier to see what needs to get done.
Start with the things that are on a set schedule, like classes and appointments. My class schedule is linked to my Google Calendar, so they are automatically added and then I work around them.
Set priorities. Once you have everything in your to-do list figure out which tasks are higher priority / have earlier deadlines. Tasks that are higher priority should be scheduled for earlier in your week.
Be specific. Rather than just setting aside some time for studying, put that you want to write notes for a specific class for an hour.
Stick to you time blocks. By limiting your time you will be more likely to focus and get things done because you only have a set amount of time. It will also help you to spend the right amount of time on tasks. This means that when you get to the end of a block, you need to move on to what’s scheduled next. Don’t just ignore it and eat into the time out set out for the next task. This might be difficult at first but it will get easier as you figure out how much time you need to schedule for a task.
Schedule breaks. Its important that you schedule in breaks for yourself. This is especially true if your are scheduling in lots of studying, you’ll work better if you force yourself to take breaks. An important part about time blocking is not over committing yourself. This was something I really struggled with when I first started time blocking. Eventually, I would end up overwhelmed trying to stick to my schedule and eventually ignoring it all together. Scheduling in breaks helps make sure you don’t over-schedule work.
Colour code your tasks. Colour coding helps you to get an idea of what you’re doing with a quick glance at your calendar. For my calendar I have: classes = dark purple, studying = light purple, blogging = dark blue, personal events = light blue
Changing your schedule
The point of time blocking is that you have to stick to the time you set out for yourself, but that doesn’t always work.
Sometimes something comes up, like you forgot your need to go grocery shopping.
The great thing with a digital calendar compared to a physical calendar is that its super easy to rearrange stuff. You can just click and drag a block to move it to a different time or day.
This also applies if you find you need more time for a task. Say you didn’t get finished in the hour you said you would. If you have space you can rearrange things. Either, reevaluate the time you need for other tasks or add in some time to finish the task you are working on later.
My Favourite app to use for time blocking is Google Calendar because I can access across all my devices and it links to my other productivity apps like my to-do list.