We all experience difficulties at times managing our time. Even the most experienced time management experts experience problems sometimes. That is why today, I will show you solutions to manage your time using time blocks and Google Calendar.
Step 1 Start Your Day Off
What is Time Blocking? Time blocking is essentially blocking periods throughout your day to work specifically on tasks. In essence, you are scheduling your day hour-by-hour. By using this system, you can maximize your day. A benefit to time blocking is that it reduces frustration and stress. A more significant advantage is that you still have time left over to be a real person and enjoy your life beyond work.
Most people believe the best way to start your day is to jump right into it. However, others believe that this act will cause you to become worn out at the end of the day. I would suggest that you try both ways to find the system that works best for you.
How to Start Your Workday?
- On your Google Calendar, block off the first 30 minutes at the beginning of your day. Google Calendar lets you do this as a one-time event or a recurring event. I would suggest you set it up as a recurring event to save time.
- Use descriptive titles for this event to eliminate any confusion. As an example, you can label the start of your day as “Review My Schedule.” Make sure that the name means something to you.
- Once this time is blocked off, make sure you use it to ease yourself into work. Start by working on simple tasks first, then gradually work your way towards more demanding ones.
To Create “Review My Schedule”
Open your Google Calendar and select the beginning time frame for the event. Start typing in the title. It would be “Review My Schedule” or whatever name you want to use in our example. Next, click on the More Options button. While the “Save” option may seem correct at first, the other button helps you customize your schedule.
Check out the image below for what the More Options button will present to you:
To ensure that you are not bothered during these periods, make sure to mark yourself as busy. Also, don’t forget to make the entry viewable so that others can see that you do not want to be bothered at this time.
To Make It Viewable:
- Click on the Default Visibility dropdown menu to the right of the “Busy” status.
- This allows you to set the event to either Public or Private.
- Enter any other details that are required.
- Click Save.
Block Time on Your Google Calendar from Gmail
To Block Time on Your Google Calendar from Gmail:
- Click on the Google Calendar icon on the right-hand side of the Gmail screen. This will expand it
- Select the day and time you want to schedule an event, then input the details.
Google built-in this technology that detects when you are reading an email that includes a time-specific obligation. Google will underline words to click on to see if there are conflicting events in your Calendar.
The purpose of giving yourself time to reach your peak performance gradually is to help you from feeling overwhelmed. This tip works incredibly well if you frequently get “locked up” with indecision or anxiety thinking about your schedule for the day.
Step 2: Block Time to React To Communications and Meetings
A great practice is to add time to your schedule before and after meetings. This allows you to prepare for meetings before starting and ensuring you add the taskings that are received from these meetings.
- You have a meeting scheduled for tomorrow to discuss your website redesign.
- Be sure to schedule 15 to 30 minutes of “free space” before and after the meeting.
- You will use the time before the meeting to prepare for the discussion.
- The time after the meeting is used to respond to what was discussed during the meeting itself.
Blocking time out in advance makes you more prepared to listen for action items and keeps other tasks from getting in the way. Don’t forget that when you respond to things being discussed to account for those action items given to you. It is best to get these tasks out of your mind and on paper while they are still fresh in your mind.
To Schedule Time for Meeting Buffers:
To schedule time for meeting buffers, do the following:
- Use the method I discussed previously, making sure that you set availability and visibility settings. That way, coworkers, managers, or employees will not doubt that you cannot provide them with immediate assistance or are not available during this time to meet with others.
- Ensure that the Time Zone link at the top of the edit page for your event’s settings is accurate.
- If you communicate with people worldwide, telling them what time zone you operate in gives them a more accurate perception of your day’s schedule.
Step 3: Unavailable “Deep Work” Time (Two Hours)
When you must get work done to meet those looming deadlines, sometimes you have no other option but to buckle down and focus on a single task. To do this, you must set up distraction-free office space and make sure nobody enters it.
Helpful Hints for your “distraction-free” zone:
- Physical indicators can convey your unavailability. For instance, a sign on the door indicating that you are not disturbed works if you are in a separate office.
- Mounting a whiteboard next to your entryway that displays the times you are available to meet is another option.
For your Google Calendar, you can show that you are not available during periods of deep work. Your time block and color-coding your availability in a noticeable hue such as red, no one will have any excuse for bothering you as long as you make sure that the public settings on your “Do Not Disturb” zone is visible.
Also, consider adding details on why you are not available in your deep work time block. This can help eliminate confusion. Adding those details can save you a ton of time later explaining why you were not available.
Things to Look Out for When Block Off Time
Here are a couple of things to watch out for when blocking off time for deep work:
- The Repeat Checkbox on Google Calendar is a setting that you can turn on. It is excellent for developing a habit of scheduling your deep dive. If your schedule is consistent, this can help you buckle down.
- You can also tailor these repeat settings to specific days of the week and times. This tip will help save you time.
Step 4: Schedule Time for the Unexpected
You can plan all you want, but sometimes unforeseen occurrences may still create challenges for you. Fortunately, you can rely on Google Calendar to build cushion time by using the time blocking method.
- You are waiting on an email from a person who always sets high expectations of you.
- If you suspect that an individual will drop another task onto your plate, you can block off time accordingly.
- Also, assume that tasks like company meetings, essential phone calls, and team huddles will last longer than expected. That way, it will not impact your schedule.
By following this approach, your Google Calendar should help you stay as focused as possible. The time you set aside gives you the flexibility to handle the unplanned tasks that get dropped in your lap. Without that leeway, you might feel a problem is way too big to solve.
How to Block Off Unexpected Taskings:
- Make sure to set aside time each day where you can respond to work requests. Your Google Calendar’s notification settings on the Edit Event page can help you stick to your plan.
- To find these notification settings, look on the Edit Event page.
- Underneath Event Details, you should see a list of notifications that you can get and how close to the actual event can set these notifications.
How to Change Your Default Notification Settings in Google Calendar?
- Head to Google Calendar’s main page.
- Under My Calendars, expand the Calendar menu by clicking the dropdown button with the arrowhead. Click on the three dots next to the Calendar that you want to edit.
- Then select Settings and Sharing.
From here, you can change the existing default notification for your Calendar. Remember: Depending on the situation; your best response may be to do nothing right away.
If your workday falls apart, there is a strong possibility that you have strong emotions regarding the upset. You may not be thinking clearly. It is okay to hold off on taking any action until you have had a chance to evaluate the situation. Please do not respond when you are upset. You may regret your response.
Step 5: The End of the Workday
The best way to prepare for the next day is to close out the present-day properly. This practice will ensure that you start your day off on the right foot.
Google Calendar allows you to reserve 20-30 minutes blocks of time to wind things down. If you go back to an event’s notification settings, you will find a great deal of flexibility when notification can happen. You can ask Google to send those notifications to you up to four weeks in advance if needed.
You can get one notification an hour before your workday ends, reminding you to start winding down for the day. You can also use the Repeat feature when setting up an event to block the end of the day automatically.
Get Ready for the End of Day
- Begin your wind-down by reflecting. What went well? Which areas need improvement?
- If you had a bad day, do not treat yourself too harshly. Just decide how to fix things and make it your priority tomorrow morning.
- Lastly, wrap up your workday by identifying the best ways to spend your next session. Select the highest priority tasks and ensure you have designated sufficient time to complete them. In other words, make sure to block out times to complete these tasks.
Google Calendar is an excellent productivity tool that can schedule time blocks for handling your tasks. Planning your time helps keep you on track to complete your tasks.
Ideally, the last twenty minutes of your day is the prime opportunity to get yourself set for the next day. Using these tools and tips discussed today, you can transition into your workweek at a reasonable pace.
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