Task-Blocking

Task-Blocking

Do you feel like the the paperwork, tasks, digital world are taking over your brain … your life?

Have you tried time management techniques that just haven’t worked for the way you like to be organized?

My friend, Teri Johnson of Keeping it Personal, taught me a productivity method that enables me to handle all the tasks on my list in a way that works with my personality.  In this post I’ll be adding some approaches from Sandi Krakowski‘s book, The Anomaly Mindset, and some principles Dr. Darria Long’s TedTalk, An ER Doctor on Triaging Your “Crazy Busy” Life.  

stickies 2852375 1920

Task-blocking is one way to put some boundaries around what you need to do, increase your productivity, and bring some peace into your life. 

Step 1: Identify and List the Tasks

Take a few minutes and write down the tasks you need to do.  If you have larger projects, divide it into smaller, more manageable chunks.  I like using sticky notes, especially for the next step.

Sticky Note Tasks2

Step 2: Prioritize the Tasks

Once you have your list, or your sticky notes, put them in order of importance, due dates, and even ease or difficulty.  Sometimes I like to to the hard things first … other times I like doing a few easy things first.  Give yourself permission to do what works at the time.

Step 3: Estimate the Time Needed to Finish the Task

Spend a few more minutes and come up with how long you think it might take you to complete each of your tasks.  It’s just an estimate … so don’t spend a lot of time.  

Step 4: Assess the Energy Needed

Another important factor in completing tasks is determining how much energy it will take to complete.  This is also the step that you will need to return to when your energy is low … rescheduling to a later time … or when it is high … doubling up on tasks because you’re moving through them so fast.

Step 5: Schedule Tasks

Ok, now it’s time to schedule those tasks.  Look at Example 1: Arbitrary Task Focus.  Notice that there’s no pattern to when these tasks are worked on.  As a result no tasks were completed during the week.

Now look at Example 2: Strategic Task Focus.  At the end of the week, all 7 tasks were completed.

Screen Shot 2020 06 15 at 8.48.04 PM

You can set up the task blocks however they work for you.  Sometimes you might like to do back-to-back – work for 45-50 minutes, take a 10-15 minute break and work another 45-50 minutes on the same task.  Other times, your energy might be low and you break the task blocks up into 20- or 30-minute intervals.

What are your greatest challenges?

How do you maximize your time and energy?

If you need some support, let’s chat and put together a plan for implementing this task-blocking strategy.  Click below and choose a time for us to talk.