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Block Scheduling: Focus Your Productivity


At a morning networking meeting of National Association of Productivity and Organizing Chicago area members this week, another organizer asked how I stay on top of everything. She was asking because I am working on writing a book (or two) and am taking courses towards a PhD in Community Psychology in addition to seeing my professional organizing clients.

My answer is block scheduling.

I learned about block scheduling from my background in education. Some middle schools, for example, schedule english and math in 90 minute blocks instead of shorter periods. This reduces transitions and allows for a “deeper dive” into the material.

According to the National Education Association (NEA), the “pros” of block scheduling are:

  • Teachers see fewer students during the day, giving them more time for individualized instruction.
  • With the increased span of teaching time, longer cooperative learning activities can be completed in one class period.
  • Students have more time for reflection and less information to process over the course of a school day.
  • Teachers have extended time for planning.

Here is how I relate that to running my small business:

  • I attempt fewer categories of tasks during the day, giving me more time for individualized attention on those tasks.
  • With the increased span of time, longer activities like writing and studying can be completed in one block.
  • I have more time for reflection and less information to process over the course of a work day.
  • I have extended time for planning.

As an intuitive learner, I see the big picture and look for patterns, so block scheduling is a good fit for me. Particular days and blocks of time are dedicated to my various activities. I prefer not to assign specific start and stop times (like 9-10:15), but rather identifying a blocks as, “Friday morning” so there is flexibility for interruptions as needed. Bookkeeping is my least favorite component of running my business, so I schedule a hobby block of time after bookkeeping as motivation to complete it faster!

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