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How to Use Time Blocks to Focus and Be More Productive

Very few of us have the luxury of not having to juggle multiple tasks and schedules all at once, which can cause us to lose focus and become less productive.  There are even fewer of us out there that actually thrive in pure chaos.  With that, I would like to argue that just because your schedule is busy does not mean it has to be chaotic. Time management is a tricky thing but here are a few ways you can use time blocks to focus and start becoming more productive.

Stop Multitasking

Although we all may like to think of ourselves as wonderful multitaskers, the number of people who can successfully multitask is only about 2% according to a study conducted by David Strayer, professor of psychology at the University of Utah. Actually, for most people, the brain cannot handle doing multiple tasks at once and this can end up making you less productive.

There is a theory out there that people feel more satisfied with themselves when they multitask than they do if they tackle one project or task at a time.  So, let’s test this theory.  Start by breaking down the project into small tasks.  This will give you an idea of how this will apply on a larger scale as well.  Make sure the project is broken down so all the tasks are individual and do not vary. For example, if you are doing a marketing project and half of the project is emailing and half of the project is calling people, try splitting this into separate tasks.

Focus on Time Blocks

Start breaking up your allotted time to do the project.  Estimate how much time you think it will take you to complete each task and make sure it will fit with your deadline.  Then tackle each task one at a time.  Do not deviate from it.  Do this in half hour increments and take five minutes between tasks to let your brain adjust.  Using time blocks to focus should help you be more productive.

Test It Out

This can only be a true test if we measure it against your normal performance while trying to multitask.  First, try doing it in blocks of time for half the project. Then, go back to how you normally would attack the project using your normal approach to multitasking. Once you have done this, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Which way produced better results? 

  2. How are your stress levels when you look at the project as individual pieces?

Congratulations to the 2% of you that can say you were able to get more done in less time and more accurately by multitasking.  You are truly extraordinary.  But for the other 98%, don’t get frustrated, just focus.  Train your brain to break everything down into bite-sized pieces.  Then tackle those pieces individually.

Once you have tried this, I’d love to hear how it worked out for you.  Please leave some comments on how your own experiment worked and what your results were.  Let me know if you are in the 98% or the 2%.

Are you looking for more great tips and tricks? Find them here!

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