Using Time Blocking To Stay Motivated

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Time Blocking

We are all guilty of suffering from a lack of motivation in our lives!

Am I right? Of course I am. This is just human nature and with all the distractions of modern living, it can be harder than ever to remain motivated and focused.

What happens when we push our brain to keep thinking, focusing and creating hour after hour? It shuts down. It goes on strike. It says “I’m outa here, buddy”.

This is especially true when we keep requiring it to focus on the same task for hours at a time.

Neuroscience now tells us that changing tasks regularly, taking consistent breaks and blocking out our time keeps our brain more engaged when it is working so that we actually get more done in less time.

So, let’s look at blocking time.

This is not a new concept. But it’s one we don’t use often enough to maintain our enthusiasm and focus, not to mention our mental and emotional health.

Blocking time is a way to schedule your work hours in a way that sets up a dedicated time to a particular task. And then, when that time is up, you switch to a new task.

But why you may ask, is this important to performance and productivity?

  • Keeps your brain from getting bored (aka, low motivation)
  • Mentally prepares you for the tasks ahead
  • Lowers stress because you see work getting done
  • Ensures no multitasking occurs
  • Improves self-confidence in your ability to succeed

So, how should you go about blocking your time? Usually, it’s recommended to work in 2–3-hour work chunks at a time, while allowing a short 5–10-minute break every 30-45 minutes.

  1. Decide how you will block your time. There are many ways to do this, including various apps and email calendars. Google Calendar is a great way to get started because it’s easy to use and readily available.
  2. Chose the date and time for your task. Remember to keep it to 2-3 hrs if possible
  3. Decide where you will complete the task.
  4. Include any details you need to remember before performing the task in the memo area. This will make it faster to get started when you get to that time block. No searching for the sticky note you wrote the directions on.
  5. Set reminders so you know when it’s time to switch tasks. You can get a reminder via email, pop-up or app notifications.

If 2-3 hours seems a long time to focus on a particular task, then you can use smaller chunks.

The Pomodoro technique uses time chunks of only 25 minutes, each followed by a 5-minute break. After 4 of these chunks, you should take a 15-minute break.

If you a little more information about the Pomodoro technique, you can read this blog post

Using time blocks keeps your motivation high for all the reasons stated above, and also because it allows you to use several of your skill sets each day. It breaks up the monotony of doing the same task all day long.

When working on tasks, you should also schedule breaks you’re your routine.

Why, you ask? Well, let’s look at a scientific reason now…

3 Reasons Science Tells Us To Take Breaks

Stay Motivated

Too busy to take a break? That’s a common thought in our fast-paced world.

We are a society with consistently too many things on our collective plate.

But science tells us that we need to make taking regular breaks a priority to maintain inspiration and productivity.

Advances in neuroscience have proven that we need breaks as well as focused work time, as some cultures have known and practiced for millennia.

Why We Need To Take Breaks

Productivity

There are a number of reasons why it is important to take scheduled breaks, and we will cover just 3 of them in this article.

It makes perfect sense to stop every now and again as if we don’t, we will get tired and lose focus.

This causes us to become frustrated and becomes a negative feedback loop, so it is important to take a break.

Let’s look at 3 big reasons to stop…

Make Connections And Retain Information

Motivation

Our brain has two modes of operation. The focus mode, which is where we spend most of our day, concentrating on tasks and challenges as they arise.

The other mode is just as important, though often underappreciated – the diffuse mode. This is the state of daydreaming or letting our mind wander. You may have experienced the benefits of this mode when you are doing something mundane on autopilot.

For example, you may have an ah-ha moment about a solution to a problem that you’ve been trying to solve while you are driving someplace familiar or taking a shower. This diffuse mode is when most of our insights and out-of-the-box thinking happens.

Re-Evaluate Our Goals

Mindset

When we stay focused on a task or problem constantly, we can easily become caught up in all the little details instead of questioning if we are completing the right tasks in the best order and way.

The devil may be in the details, but we need breaks to gain perspective on how our work is advancing and if there are more productive or effective ways to reach the same or even better results.

Stepping out of work mode for even just a few minutes is enough time to help us re-evaluate our goals and the way we are going about achieving them.

Keep Us Engaged And Motivated

Time Blocking

Our brains weren’t meant to stay in focused mode all the time, even though we think they should sometimes.

Neuroscientists have found that taking short breaks on a regular basis is a more effective way to work, even though that might seem counterintuitive.

Breaks give our brains a rest from constant focus so that they can “regroup” if you will. When we take breaks throughout the day when working on tasks that take a lot of concentration or take a longer period of time to complete, we actually are more productive and motivated when we are working on the task than if we worked straight through.

As you probably already know, having a strong mindset is critical to any attempt to plan and stay focused, so click on the featured resource below to get a free report on how to develop a strong mindset. Download, it read and take action 😊

Time Blocking

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