If you feel like you’re never making it through your to-do list or are often pushing back important things such as making time for your health, you’re not the only one. Time blocking is the productivity time-management hack you absolutely need in your life. I used it when I wanted to make more time for my health and started to take my weight loss journey seriously- here’s everything I learned.
One of the top excuses I often hear when it comes to creating healthier habits and losing weight is the lack of time. With all the responsibilities of work, home, and life, it truly seems impossible to find time for the gym, grocery shopping, or even meal prep.
Sure, we all know all those things will make our life easier (and better) but to actually carve out time to do them is an entirely different story.
How to Use Time Blocking to Lose Weight
I will admit. Over the last year, I noticed a shift in my productivity.
I’d start my week with a mile-long to-do list, but I would barely get 20% of it accomplished because I either got too distracted, forgot about it, or other things took me longer than expected.
And, that’s only what made it to my to-do list.
Let’s not forget about all the other ideas and projects floating around in my head that never seem to get on the list. Now add on keeping up with my whole family and a healthy lifestyle- it seems downright impossible to fit it all in.
More often than not, I’d end my week scratching my head trying to figure out what I actually accomplished. I felt like I was on a hamster wheel and struggled to move forward on any goal.
Then at the end of last year, I came across time blocking.
Before I jump into all the ins and outs of time blocking, I just want to mention that I’ve long been a committed calendar user and lover. I’d often say if it’s not in my calendar, then it doesn’t exist. The problem is I wasn’t using my calendar in a way that took control over my time. I’d write out appointments, some reminders, and a list of to-dos for the day, but that wasn’t getting it done.
I needed to do much more. And I needed to be proactive with my time! I needed to block out my time.
The Benefits Of Time Blocking
So, you’re probably wondering: What is time-blocking? Essentially, time blocking means planning out your days into blocks of time. Each block of time is assigned to a specific task. So during that time block, all you do is focus on that task.
I recommend using Google Calendar for this. It’s free, easy to use, and can be accessed from your phone and computer.
Still not convinced? Here are just a few reasons why I love time blocking so much.
Prioritize Important Tasks
You can look at your to-do list and decide which is most important to get done. Then, break that down into tasks and give each of those tasks a time slot. This helps you know where to start and how to move forward.
Stay Focused On One Thing At a Time
Back in my early years, I’d pride myself on being a multitasker.
I do think there is a time and place for multitasking but when I’m trying to be productive, I need to be focused. When I have a task in a time block, that’s all I focus on.
How many times do you want to get something done but then say, “Eh, I’ll get it done tomorrow”?
*slowly raises her hand*
Scheduling a block of time for something provides a sense of urgency that it needs to get done during that time. Also, it keeps it visible and on your mind.
Keeps You Intentional With Your Time
Often, we don’t think we have the time to add something new to our day. However, when you take a good look at your schedule, you can see where you can fit in tasks or other appointments, and where you may need to move things around. When you lay it out and start assigning blocks of time, you’ll quickly see where you have time and where you don’t.
Take the time to review your schedule, goals for the week, tasks to complete, and assign time blocks to everything. This will truly help you stay intentional with your time.
You Wake Up Knowing What To Do
In my experience, one of the biggest ways to waste your time is by not having a plan. The alarm rings, then you just sit there with your head spinning, trying to figure out where to start and what to do.
By having a calendar with your blocks of time scheduled out, you won’t waste a second of your day.
Helps You Say No To Time-Suckers
I’ve lost count of the number of times I stopped a project or didn’t exercise because of something that “came up”. I get that there are emergencies, but sometimes you need to say no when other things are a priority.
The Best Way To Productively Use Time Blocking For Your Lifestyle
Realistically, your life isn’t the same as mine. We all have our own challenges we have to overcome to accomplish everything that needs to be done in a day. Even so, I do believe there is a special way to use time blocking for every kind of lifestyle.
Here are some of my tips!
Decide What Your Schedule Is For The Week
What time can you get started in the morning, and what time do you want to be done for the day? Between these two times is when you need to schedule your blocks of time.
Decide What You’re Most Productive Time Of The Day Is
Are you a morning person? Can you exercise after work? When do you do your best work? When is the best time to schedule more mindless activities?
These are some of the questions to think about when you are making this type of decision.
Include Your Non-Negotiables
These are the tasks or events that simply cannot be moved or pushed back; For example, picking kids up, sports games, etc. Then add in any doctor’s appointments, birthdays, scheduled social events, etc. after these blocks have been determined.
Create Categories For Everything You Want To Get Done
So let’s say you break down your week into personal/health, work, kids, and general. In your Google Calendar, give each of those categories a color so you can see what you need to do at a quick glance.
List Out Your Goals For The Month For Each Category
I personally like doing a month at a time because that’s how I do work projects. Then, I can figure out what I need to do each week to accomplish my work goals by the end of the month.
This can also work with weight loss goals or even home projects!
Prioritize Your Goals
You can’t do everything!
I’ve realized when I try to do all the things, I’m just setting myself up to fail and everything goes downhill from there.
Start with the most urgent or highest priority goal and move on from there. If you end up with more time, then you can add-in your other goals/tasks.
After you list out all of your goals, break them down into actionable tasks and give those tasks a time slot.
Here’s a quick look at one of my time-block weeks.
Healthy Habits I Recommend Adding To Your Time-Block Schedule
So now that I’ve explained all the benefits of time blocking and how to incorporate it into your schedule, let’s talk about adding in your healthy habits.
How can time blocking help you lose weight?
As mentioned earlier, the lack of time is one of the top excuses for falling short on weight loss goals. When you use this block system, you are looking at your schedule and making your healthy habits a time slot, and better yet, a priority.
It also makes your goals more likely to happen, because you’re putting them into a time slot that can work for you.
Here are some of the healthy habits that I’ve added to my calendar that I think would also benefit many of you.
This is one of those things that I used to dread. It was so easy to say, “Oh, I don’t have time- I’ll just go tomorrow.” It was so easy to just continue putting it off but now, with my new lifestyle, it’s become a big part of my routine.
Start off by scheduling a 1-hour block for exercise and then another hour for getting ready. If you exercise at a gym, then make sure to account for travel time.
This way you can make sure you are adding exercise to your daily routine and starting your day with some healthy habits.
You guys know how I feel about meal prep. My life truly depends on it, but we all know that sometimes, things happen.
So I make sure I leave time for multiple scenarios.
At first, I would put aside 1 hour to plan meals for the following week.
- Grocery shopping- I schedule 2 hours a week to get groceries.
- Meal prep- I schedule 2-4 hours on a Sunday to prep meals for the week.
Now if for some reason, I wasn’t able to schedule out time to do meal prep, I would use that time block to make sure I was able to put together a quick healthy dinner without meal prep.
Stress ‘Hot’ Zones
I’m really big on keeping stress ‘hot’ zones under control. So, if you find things like laundry or other cleaning duties keeping you from getting more important goals accomplished, then I suggest giving them a block of time so you can make sure to get this done every week.
Basically, don’t leave any of these habits or tasks up to chance. They need to be prioritized and scheduled into a time-block to make them happen.
Of course, there are other timesaving tips for all of these habits. For example, ordering groceries online, using a meal kit or working with a meal planning service. You’ll also find the more you practice these habits, the easier they’ll get and less time it will take you down the road.
Other Things To Keep In Mind When Time Blocking
Sometimes, your schedule doesn’t work out and that’s 100% okay, especially when you’re first starting out. Some things will take longer, or you might realize that what you added isn’t a priority.
I would recommend making adjustments for the next week and keep moving forward.
More than likely, you’re going to have to move things around or sacrifice a bit. For example, I needed more time in my work schedule, and the only time I can exercise is in the morning. So, instead of starting my workout at 6:30 am, I’m now starting it at 5:30 am. Yes, that’s super early (too early some days) and it doesn’t always pan out, but I know if I want to start working by 8, then I need to exercise starting at 5:30 am.
My best piece of advice is to write everything down, and then make a list of activities you feel are important and need to happen on a daily basis. Then use this system for time blocking to create a personalized schedule that works best for you, and adjust it as needed.
You can use time blocking for the week, every couple weeks, for the month or whatever works for you. That’s the best part! Share a picture and tag me on Instagram or Facebook if you decide to try it. I would love to see your calendars.