Time blocking: What Is It And Why Start in 2024

What is Time blocking?

Time boxing is a way to manage your time. Each task is scheduled in a fixed time slot in your calendar. So, instead of working on a task until it's completed, you work within a set time frame ("the timebox").

Many of us struggle with procrastination. Time blocking helps overcome this. You break tasks into smaller, more manageable chunks.

At the end of a day, many of us don't feel a sense of accomplishment. A great side effect of time blocking is that you can look back at your day. And hopefully feel accomplished.

Famous fans of Time blocking

Elon Musk
CEO of Tesla, SpaceX, X and Neuralink
Benjamin Franklin
Writer, Scientist, Inventor and Founding Father of the United States
Cal Newport
Author of "Deep Work" and "Digital Minimalism"

Benefits of Time boxing

It removes the constant decision-making of what to do next. By planning your day ahead, you save time and mental energy. The time constraints make you more likely to stay on task. Working with a sense of urgency.

The defined time limit often helps to concentrate better. Which prevents multitasking and getting distracted by other upcoming tasks. Knowing you already planned time for something, frees you from constantly thinking about it (hopefully).

How to Implement it

1. Identify Tasks: Start by listing all the tasks or activities you need to complete, both personal and professional. With Amie's todo lists you can do that for all areas of your life.

Example inbox with 4 items

2. Estimate Time: For each task, estimate the amount of time you think it will realistically take to complete it. You can just add @60m to the title, or set the duration manually.

Todo detail view showing 60 minute duration

3. Schedule your time blocks: Amie allows you to drag-and-drop the tasks directly into your calendar. You can also use natural language like @tomorrow 3pm to schedule them.

Todo being time blocked into calendar

3b. Set a Timer: Alternatively, using our timer, set the timebox for the task you'll be working on.

4. Work Focused: During the timebox, focus solely on the task at hand, avoiding distractions and multitasking. Our menubar helps you be reminded of the current task.

Todo being time blocked into calendar

5. Take Breaks: After the timebox ends, take a short break to recharge before starting the next timebox. We recommend a break of 10-15 minutes.

6. Review and Adjust: Keep review your time boxing sessions and adjust your time estimates. Many find themselves, actually needing 2x as long as expected for most tasks.

7. Use it across life: Timeblock work projects, study sessions, workouts and household chores. The more you get a hang of it, the more you'll benefit. If things slip or plans change: multi-select the blocks in Amie and move them all at once.

Common concerns

It's too rigid for my schedule: If your schedule is naturally full, you can start with small time boxes. Especially for things that easily get lost in your busy every day. Knowing you set a time for it, let's you be more present during otherwise busy times.

I prefer to be flexible: Once you got a hang of it, most feel time boxing actually makes them more flexible. The technique teaches you to treat time as something you choose to use how you like.

I won't have any more free time: Some worry that timeboxing is a way to make every single minute productive. You're creating your schedule. And we encourage you to even plan fun time. Create a big "do nothing at all" blocker for your next Sunday.

3 Tips For Better Time Blocking

1. Surprises are predictable: Distractions, like last-minute meetings or childcare emergencies, can always happen. Leave gaps in your schedule on purpose. This allows you to still achieve what you set out in your planning.

2. Double The Time: To stay on track, overestimate the time needed for your tasks. In my personal experience, things take around 2x as long as I thought.

3. Stick to Your Schedule: When disrupted, just keep moving on to the next schedule task. Otherwise one missed task can turn the whole rest of the day into chaos. It's part of the journey to keep adjusting and learning from it.

Start Small and Gradually Increase

If timeboxing is new to you, it's best to start with shorter timeboxes (e.g. 25 minutes) and gradually increase the duration as you become more comfortable with the technique. Experiment with different timebox lengths for different types of tasks to find what works best for you. Productivity is very personal, so don't follow rules that don't work for you.

Timeboxing is a powerful productivity tool that can help you stay focused. You'll manage your time effectively, and achieve more in less time. Many found their way to a more productive and fulfilling day-to-day. We'd love to hear from you about your experiences.

Try Amie

Try Amie, which is an app combining todos, emails and calendar. We think it's the ultimate tool for time blocking and many more workflows.