Posted on: December 3, 2021 Posted by: Glacier Staff Comments: 0

Finals week is here, the busiest and most stressful time of the semester. Studying for multiple classes, going to work, taking care of your family and home – it can be too much to handle at once. 

In a few months, we’ll be entering year two of the pandemic, yet we still find ourselves battling our dramatically changed schedules inside our homes, a place of distractions.

To take advantage of time and become productive, I discovered time blocking, a structured schedule to help me be in control of my life and get more things done. 

Deana Elhit


What is time blocking? 

Time blocking allows you to organize your schedule to have a productive day to accomplish specific tasks by dividing your day into blocks and focusing on a specific task for a given amount of time rather than multiple tasks at once. 

If you have a schedule in place, you’re more likely to follow it. Time blocking tells you what task to focus on and for how long, thus creating a deadline to complete each task faster and lessen distractions. 

“The single task nature of time blocking can improve productivity by as much as 80%,” according to BetterUp. “You can really focus for an hour or two at a time and do deep work.”

Often, if you don’t have a schedule in place, the day can pass by without you accomplishing anything to the minimum.  We can find ourselves taking up the whole day just to complete a single task, creating more stress and anxiety due to the list of unfulfilled tasks at the end of the day. 

The website provides a good explanation of time blocking and other productivity strategies. (Graphic by

So how do we use time blocking?

When I time block, I use Google calendar, listing my routine from waking up to going to sleep, though you can time block your own schedule for how much time of the day you need. 

You can create your schedule on an online calendar or on paper. You can prepare the whole week’s worth of scheduling, allowing yourself to edit when events or other tasks come up. I prefer to schedule the night before so that I have a planned schedule to follow and help keep my day organized. 

To start, I label each block with tasks that I want to do for that day such as checking emails for 10 minutes, focusing on an assessment for an hour, and giving myself breaks for how long I feel necessary. My schedule will differ at times, though I try to keep a consistent routine. This allows me to only consistently function throughout my day. It’s best to first label what is the most important task to complete first, such as studying and completing an exam for that day and setting my schedule around it.

Tasks can also be broken up into smaller chunks. For example, writing an essay can begin with drafting from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., returning to revise from 2:30 to 4 p.m., and editing from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Give yourself breaks – having lunch, doing the dishes, or any other activity you prefer. 

This approach challenges you to finish the task before the deadline timer is done and helps you accomplish your set goal. If you don’t find yourself completing the task on deadline, don’t punish yourself. It can take some time to adapt and adjust to a structured schedule. 

Most of us can’t fully estimate the time needed for a given task, so when you first start, you might want to give yourself extra time. Also be sure not to over-schedule yourself. Make a routine that you’ll know you can accomplish for that day. The more you experiment with time blocking, the easier it will become to make a routine that works for you. Make sure your set goal times are reasonable and work along with you. 

Another strategy to go along with time blocking is writing to-do lists. It’s better to make them physical rather than digital, as the brain is more capable of remembering things that are written down rather than typed. You can create a traditional to-do list or write each task on a different post-it note specifying what you want to be completed, taking down each post-it as you accomplish a task, which creates a satisfying feeling. All these strategies come together to help you become more organized. 

Of course, time blocking takes getting used to. You’ll find yourself not following the plan at first due to needing more time, or even disregarding the schedule at the end of the day because of being too tired. At times something will come up in your schedule that interferes with your planning altogether. The more you time block, the easier it gets in knowing what kind of schedule you can stick with.

On days that I don’t time block, I find myself the least productive. I spend more time on a task rather than actually completing it. The feeling of needing to do multiple things at once and not knowing where to begin makes it a struggle to manage both my schoolwork and personal life.

Time blocking has given me that motivation that at times can be hard to find. It has also given me motivation to make more time for myself, like doing a light yoga session, something I rarely did before because I had the common thought, “I don’t have time for it.”

This is where time management plays an important role. It’s not that we don’t have time – we need to make the time to organize what needs to be done, and when. We’re in control of all our time, yet it often feels like we are not.

Ali Abdaal provides helpful tips.

“When you schedule a chunk of time to work on a single project, problem, or task, you bring all of your mental resources to bear on one thing rather than spreading your attention thin across several tasks,” according to Todoist. “The more you ‘single task,’ the more you build the mental muscles required for deep work and the easier it becomes to stay focused.”

By putting in the work to benefit ourselves with new and interesting strategies, time blocking can help aid us in our daily lives to function during these exhausting times. 

The goal of time blocking is becoming more in control of your time, focus and productivity. But also remember you don’t have to be productive 100 percent of the time. As we still struggle to find a routine in our pandemic lives, finding strategies that can help improve ourselves with how we spend our time is important. Consider trying time blocking to see if it works for you. We would love to hear about it in the comments below.