So this is something we have been chatting about for a while now, and I have to say - it's one of the best tools I've used, probably ever. If you're unfamiliar with what Calendar Blocking is, let me break it down for you.
As we found out during our podcast episode on Productivity (with Peggy & Jenny from The Improvement Project), Dave originally found the idea from a chap named Dan Meredith (he's a fun guy).
The idea is to 'block' time in your calendar for a specific task, not letting anything else interrupt the time. This time could literally be for anything you want - work, family time, alone time, time to write an article - whatever you choose. But the real power belongs in not letting distractions keep you doing what you set out to do. It's about intentionality. At least that's my understanding of it. As an example, I'll take you through a typical day of mine since I've utilised calendar blocking.
Wake Up and Morning Routine. This consists of typical things like -
Breakfast (which is usually a smoothie or something
Making the bed
Listening to an audiobook or podcast
At least one chore - could be the washing up or general tidying the house, or emptying the dishwasher etc. There's always something to do.
Normally it leaves around 10 minutes for miscellaneous tasks like checking of the phone, making sure my bag is packed, and in today's weather, defrosting my car.
From there it's a drive to the gym and exercise. Depending on the day, I alternate workouts between one of the main muscle groups. Regardless, it tends to last around 1 hour or so. A shower at the gym, and then I'm off to work.
Sometimes I leave earlier, sometimes I leave later. It really depends if I manage to complete my tasks and if there is anything pressing I need to deal with. I will be honest, sometimes other things pop up here, like dealing with personal phone calls, scheduling appointments and such, but it doesn't dampen the productivity too much. I mean, everyone does it, right?
Most days I tend to teach Piano and/or Guitar. It's something I've been doing for a very long time now, and I really love it.
Dinner time. On occasion, I will have batch cooked meals at the weekend for the upcoming week, but often I will cook whatever I have in the kitchen. If I'm honest, I need to better prepare this part of my life - I'm not sure my meals are the healthiest they can be. But it's about improving a little every day, right?
Final check of emails and such before signing off for the night.
Sean time. This time is blocked out to do whatever I want. I have a number of activities and hobbies such as:
Piano and guitar
TV & Film - currently making my way through Season 6 of Power (no spoilers)
Gaming (but only with other people, I'm not really one to play games online etc)
Just before heading to bed, I pack my bag for the next day. Do the usual stuff and try to get some sleep. As fellow insomnia sufferers will agree, it's not always a simple task.
The times I have set out for these tasks are definitely not set in stone, as sometimes things pop up that can't be avoided. However, if we take 9pm-11:30pm/12am - I've called that 'Sean Time'. Basically this means that it doesn't matter what I do in that time, as long as I enjoy it. I could do the same thing with blocking out time in my calendar for 'Family Time'. It really makes no difference if we go for lunch, have a day at the beach, or simply chat with coffee. The idea is to be intentional and use the time for the family.
But there we are - I will re-emphasise, that's a typical day. I semi-often have things on such as dinner plans, theatre tickets, games nights, early meetings etc - so, not every day can be planned like this. Things get moved around, and sometimes things get removed altogether. But I encourage you to give it a go - be intentional with your time, and you'll find yourself being more productive, more efficient, happier, and a LOT less bored.
I'm sure you're thinking I can improve on this, and if you have any suggestions, I really would love to hear them. I'm definitely not perfect, and this 'routine' has shaped itself, I didn't sit down and write it. So please, let me know your thoughts and suggestions to better it.
Hopefully, I've covered any questions you may on the topic, but if not, fire them over and I'll do my best to answer them.
Until next time, stay awesome.