Time Blocking: The Technique For Better Focus And Productivity

time blocking technique

When something is important enough for you, you will do whatever it takes to accomplish it. You will say ‘No’ to other people and push all other tasks away and focus yourself on doing your most important work. You time block.

With information coming at us at lightning speed, we just don’t have enough time to digest everything. We need to spend time on our work, we need to exercise, we need to spend time growing our relationship with people we care, and we need to stay updated through social media. How can we have enough time to handle all these? The answer is through time blocking.

If there is one skill that you need to master to produce an extraordinary result in life, it is this. Time blocking is also a very powerful productivity tool that used by many successful people.

Time blocking works because it makes sure that what has to be done gets done.

When your time block your task, you can then focus all your energy and put in your full effort into doing the work.

More importantly, you will make sure that you get the work done. Most people are not leveraging on this powerful technique because it is too simple to apply that they underestimate its effectiveness.

Successful writers time block their writing time because writing is their most important activities that will give them the result they want.

Extraordinary athletes time block their training time because training will improve their skills and allows them to have a better winning chance in the competition.

Time Blocking Your Most Important Work

So what should you time block? You should time block your most important work that will give you the most result.

I recommend you read The One Thing by Gary Keller to understand this concept better.

If you want to produce an amazing result in life and at work, you must identify your One Thing. When you know what is the one thing that is the most important to you and that by doing it, it will give you the most result, you time block it and work on it.

So ask yourself right now, what is the one thing you can do right now that will give you the most result?

And then you simply block your time to do it.

chase two rabbits

What Activities To Time Block

So now you know the importance of time blocking, what activities should you time block? Here are some suggestions that you can consider:

1. Time Block Your Time Off

Yes, you read that right. Time off is one of the most important activities that everyone should plan for it.

You should organize your life around your play instead of the other way round. Why? When you know that there is play time, you will work harder and will look forward to it.

If your life is all work and no play, you will feel boring and you can never produce great work from it.

Some may argue saying that their work is their play. It may be true to a certain extent, but I believe that you should get away from your work once in a while to refresh your mind and recharge your soul.

When you work for long hours, your productivity will decrease and so does your willpower. You will feel that it is difficult to focus especially if your work needs you to face the computer screen for long hours.

You definitely don’t want to suffer burnout. You want to maintain your energy level so that you can work at an optimum level most of the time.

So block off time to recharge yourself each day. You can have weekly, monthly and even yearly time off too if you want to.

2. Time Block Your Most Important Work

Next, time block your most important work that will give you the most result. You have to follow Pareto 80/20 Principle to discover the most important activities that will give you the most result.

Being busy does not mean that you are being productive. Some people spend an hour on productive work that gives them result, while some people spend three hours but are not getting any result.

It is the work that you choose to work on that will determine your productivity, not how much time you are able to spend on it.

You want to spend time on your most result-yielding work, not squeezing more work into your days.

The key is to time block your most important work as early as you possibly can. Try to spend 30 minutes to an hour for your morning priorities, and then jump straight into your most important work.

Once you got your most important work done, you will see extraordinary results coming.

If you have no idea what is your most important task that will give you the most result, ask yourself this question as suggested by the book, The One Thing:

“What is the ONE THING I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”

And you can ask this question to suit what you want to achieve in life.

“What is the ONE THING I can do to improve my skill at my career such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”
“What is the ONE THING I can do to show my appreciation to my love one such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”
“What is the ONE THING I can do to make our product the best such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”

You got that.

The key is to identify the most result-yielding task so that you can work at it to get the extraordinary result you want.

3. Time Block Your Planning Time

Planning time is one of the most important time that most people underestimate and never schedule. They thought that as long as they are clear with what they want to achieve in life, things will fall in places easily.

It is not. The reason being that every one of us is busy and we will get distracted by things around us. Whenever we want to work on our goal, our phone will ring and we need to answer it. Our kids demand our attention. The YouTube video shared by our friends seems interesting to watch. We need to check update on Facebook and we need to spend time doing our routine work too.

There are just too many things that require our attention and if we did not schedule time for planning, we will forget to do it.

And when you forget about planning, you will never be able to go through your days and weeks smoothly.

This is why we need to time block our time for planning too. If you are serious about achieving extraordinary results and be productive, this is what you must do.

Make it your habit so that you will do it consistently and you will never forget about it.

Protect Your Time Block

Your time block is going to be your most important thing because you will be the most productive when doing the most result-yielding work.

Thus, you have to protect your time block.

You have to create a bunker so that all other distractions from the outside will not get into you.

1. Learn to say ‘No’

Yes, you have to say ‘No’ to other things when you are on your quest to doing your most important thing. Other things have to wait. Just say no and delay all other tasks that come to you at that moment.

You do not want to be distracted. When people come to you and ask for your help, find a way to tell them that you will do it, but it has to wait. I believe that people will understand and they will comply with you.

You cannot be successful by trying to please everyone.

2. Build a bunker

Create a quiet place where you can work on your most important thing each day. Remember, the path to mastery is through deliberate practice and doing. Hence, you have to spend time working, improving and becoming better each day in your bunker.

Create a private space or a workstation that allows you to completely focus on your task. Lock yourself in your room if possible. Silent or turn off your phone.

When it comes to getting your ONE THING done, be serious with it because doing it will tremendously improve the quality of your life.

So do whatever you can do create an environment that will support you and your goal.

3. Maintain your energy

There are plenty of ways how you can maintain your energy. The key is to keep your energy at an optimum level so you can perform at your best.

Our energy works just like your battery level on your phone. In the morning, it is fully charged and we use energy in everything we do as we go through our day.

And when our energy level is low, we feel sleepy, tired and easily get distracted. You will find it hard to focus on your work when your energy level is low. You will tend to want to do something else, talk to people, surf the internet and do other unrelated things.

Here are some suggestions how you can maintain your energy:

  • Get some supply of snacks and healthy foods in your bunker.
  • Apply the Pomodoro Technique while working through your time blocks.
  • Drink water and keep your body hydrated.
  • Use power naps to keep you refresh.

Read more here: 7 Techniques How To Manage Your Energy For A Maximum Productive Workday


I found that time blocking is one of the most powerful techniques that anyone can use to be productive, get the most important work done, develop a productive habit, and also deliberately improve their skills in what they do.

Of course, it is a simple and easy to apply technique. However, time blocking will only work if you commit to working on it.

If you never protect your time block and you do other work when it is time to do your most important work, then, this technique will be useless to you.

It requires your commitment and dedication to make it work.


Shawn Lim

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  1. Nice article Shwan. Really like the whole ideology of blocking time, Especially blocking the time off is smart.

  2. The best way to block off your time is to wake up earlier. Eat that frog and get the most important task done before the chaos of the day creeps in.

    I like the emphasis on focusing on One Thing. Too many people are chasing rabbits everywhere and end up nowhere!


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