What We Get Wrong About Time Blocking
Notion Creators Weekly #25
👋🏼 Hey there!
Welcome to Issue #25 of Notion Creators Weekly, where I share 1 Big Idea & ~3 Resources to help you work with more focus and intention.
The One Thing We Get Wrong About Time Management
What comes to mind when you think of time-tracking?
If Twitter or YouTube are any indication, the purpose of time-tracking is to work faster, get more work done, and to make every last minute productive.
In short, this is simply a recipe for burnout.
As a dad, teacher, consultant and content creator, time-blocking has been very top of mind, but not for the reasons above.
“True efficiency is not about speed; it’s about spending more time with what truly matters.”
– Ryder Carroll, from The Bullet Journal Method
Time-blocking is a strategy to work less, not more.
With the overlap of work, personal time, learning, and unplanned activities, deciding where and how much time will go to each area ensures you’re making progress in the right places, and more importantly, fending off non-important tasks taking over your time, energy and attention.
Under no circumstances do I want work to creep into time that’s set aside for things like exercise, family meals, or hanging with my wife and two daughters.
But with increasing work demands, and two kids at very different stages, it’s felt like a breaking point is inching closer and closer.
This quote (and book in general) was what made time-blocking click for me:
“To create a weekly timeboxed schedule, you’ll need to decide how much time you want to spend on each domain of your life. How much time do you want to spend on yourself, on important relationships, and on your work?”
– Nir Eyal, in Indistractable
5 Tips to Get Started with Time Blocking
Before you freak out, time-blocking doesn’t need to be an overly-complex system to track every minute. There are a few strategies that can give great insight into where your time is going, and how you want to manage it going forward.
1. Start With Your Calendar of Choice
If you use a calendar to schedule meetings or attend events, you’ve already started time-blocking!
2. Block Out Non-Negotiable Time Slots
What times do you want to set aside? For me, this is family time, exercise, and writing (still working on that last one).
3. Create a Few ‘Deep Work’ Blocks
What time of day are you most comfortable diving into deep, challenging work? This is where your deep work blocks should live. Deep work blocks can be anywhere from 90 minutes to three hours, and even one block per week can be critical to making significant progress on your most important projects.
4. Bundle Similar Tasks
This one is tough! When planning out the week, what similar tasks need to get done? Scheduling similar tasks during the same blocks prevents what may be our biggest productivity enemy: context-switching.
5. Do a Weekly Review
It’s natural to want to skip this part, but it may be the most important. Where did you spend your time, and where did you end up in relation to what you intended to accomplish? This step is critical to planning and estimating time blocks needed with greater accuracy.
🎙 Listen to This | Time Management for Mortals: A Conversation with Oliver Burkeman
This was an amazing podcast (and my first time listening to Making Sense. One quote that really got me thinking:
“Every decision to spend a portion of time on one thing, is a decision not to spend it on a million other things instead.”
– Oliver Burkeman
📑 Read Up | The Pomodoro Technique, from Todoist
This article comprehensively explores the Pomodoro technique – 25 minute work sessions followed by 5 minute breaks – also connecting the technique to broader challenges we face with distractions, focus, and overwhelm.
💾 Template Corner | Tomato: The Ultimate Pomodoro Notion Template, from Gridfiti
This is a great Notion example of how to track your time and days using the pomodoro technique. If you’re curious as to how you might incorporate the practice, this is a great starting point.
🏗 Do It Yourself | How I Made a Pomodoro Planner in Notion, from RedGregory
Deep diving on pomodoro and time tracking in Notion? Red Gregory not only builds a time tracking database in Notion, but walks through what properties to add, and how a few formulas can go a long way to provide insights on where your time’s going.
📜 From the Archives | Time Tracking with Notion & Toggl (YouTube Video)
This was actually my first Notion tutorial video on YouTube from over two years ago (cringe!). It can still be useful if you’re exploring using Notion and Toggl together. I still use a version of this setup!
Are You Time Blocking?
What strategies have worked? I’d love to hear from you! Just hit reply to this email!
That’s it for this week!
I’d love to hear what you think. What content resonates? What do you want to see more or less of? Just hit reply to let me know!
And if you’re loving Notion Creators Weekly, tell your friends to subscribe. 😀
Until next time,