I’ve tried a lot of different ways to schedule my time. Google calendars, planners of all sorts, timers and alarms…you name it. One of the ways I’ve found is most successful for me is the Block Schedule. Similar to the look of a class schedule or appointment book, it provides a quick way to lay out your week and a great visual tool for your time. Why is it called a block schedule? Well, that’s simple – it’s made up of blocks!
Unlike most visual scheduling tools, like lists or dry erase calendars, block schedules have the benefit of being a quick visual tool. It’s easy to see what time is blocked out, and what it’s being used for. It’s a fantastic helper for those with busy schedules (like students!) and it’s done in three easy steps.
Why a block schedule?
I really like printing out my schedule and having it available for myself in my work bag or at my home desk. That way, I don’t need to pull out my phone to have my schedule. I also don’t have to keep up with a messy Google calendar. Calendar apps are great for some people, but I haven’t ever been able to keep up with one. They end up making me frustrated. The only things I put in my calendar app are shared events and appointments I need to be reminded of. These may be scheduled well in advance, so if I don’t do that, I’ll forget.
One of the things that bothered me about many time-based scheduling tools is that they don’t account for all the time in a day. Many start at 6am or even later, and don’t go until midnight. That’s a full 6 or more hours of time left unaccounted for. But that isn’t true with block schedules! I created my own block schedule template that covers all 24 hours of the day, 7 days a week – starting and ending with midnight. This is great for anyone who works nights or gets up super early to go to the gym.
Are you ready to create a block schedule of your own? Grab the printable below and let’s get started!
Step One: Rigid Blocks
First, set in all of your rigid blocks. These include times like work, school, appointments, or events that are pre-scheduled, have a set time, and generally don’t move or change once set. Usually, they’ll be things you leave home for. In that case, make sure to include travel time.
Oh, another note. I’m a visual person, and I really like color. Having each block colored in really helps me visualize my schedule for the week. I use different colors for each block – work is one color, blog time is another, travel time is yet another, etc. It adds some fun too!
Step 2: Daily Routines
Next, add your daily routines. These will be things you do every day (or very nearly every day) and can include a morning routine, night routine, meals (if you schedule that) and sleep. If you have any other self-imposed routines, like screen-free time, this is a good time to pencil them in. I add them after the rigid blocks because sometimes they may need to shift. For example, if I wasn’t working until 10pm on Friday night, my evening routine and sleep blocks would shift quite a bit earlier to compensate for working at 6am on Saturday. (Also, who schedules someone for 6am on a Saturday? Ugh!)
Step 3: Flexible Blocks
Last, add your flexible blocks. The difference between daily routines and flexible blocks is that flexible blocks may not happen every day and may take different amounts of time depending on how they fit in with the rest of your day. For example, I definitely need to schedule in a block for working on my blog, otherwise it won’t happen, but it can vary widely in terms of when it’s done and how long it takes. For example, I may not have any time on Tuesday or Friday to do blog work, and I may only have an hour on Monday, but I can schedule in four hours on Saturday.
You may also consider scheduling complete free time – either as time that doesn’t need to have any kind of scheduled activity, or time you are specifically setting aside as down time, hobby time, reading, etc. I don’t have much of that this week, what with getting a new puppy and working two jobs for a total of over 65 hours. You may just leave any extra time blank as well. For the sake of continuity, I don’t label my free time, but I do color it in so that my entire schedule is colored.
That’s all three steps – it’s done!
Ta-da! Feel free to add in anything after that you may have missed. For the first couple of weeks, you may even end up doing these in pencil so they can be changed. And if your schedule does change, that’s okay. I just white out whatever changes and replace it.
The last photo is my completed schedule for this week, all colored in. For me, I’ve found block scheduling to be the best way to keep my time organized during the week. I do it on Sunday of every week, and it helps me ensure I don’t miss anything I’m supposed to be working on!
How do you schedule your time? Do you think a block schedule will help you?