You have a lot of interruptions in your work and you are thinking of time blocking as a way to get things done? At the same time, you aren’t sure where to start or how to bring it up with your team? This post will help you implement time blocking in your work.
I’ve been using time blocking for the past 3 years to help me be productive and achieve what I want. A full-time job, writing on this blog, publishing two ebooks, and a newsletter. Plus, I still enjoy my personal life, and rarely work past 6 pm.
Sounds promising, right? Hell yeah!
To get any meaningful work done, we need at least 1 hour of uninterrupted time. The more, the better. But 1 hour is the minimum to achieve “the flow”.
We’ll call this blocked time do-not-disturb time, or DND for short.
The magical word here is “uninterrupted time”. As once you interrupt a DND time, you need up to 25 minutes to get back to your focus state according to studies. So, planning a DND time is the first step, and protecting it is the second.
Implementing DND time – easy mode
Here’s how to start your do-not-disturb time-blocking journey.
After deciding your DND time slot, make sure to communicate it to your team. How? This depends on what tools you use (if any).
- If you’re using a chat app like Slack/Teams, update your status to: in deep work, focusing…
- If you’re in an office, use your headphones as a signal that you’re not available
If you’re interrupted during your focus time by a DM, ping, or a phone call, kindly answer that you are focusing on something and you’ll respond asap. You can use something like “Hey, sorry I’m currently focusing on some work, I’ll take a look at this in approx 1 hour. Thanks!”. For phone calls: “Hey what’s up? Does this can wait? I’m working on something urgent”.
With a few iterations, your team will learn from your habits and start respecting your DND time. You’ll receive fewer pings/DMs over time. Or better, you’ll receive things like: “I see you’re on deep work, please let me know once you are free”. That’s good progress!
Implementing DND – advanced mode
So, now that your team is aware of your DND and how it works, you’re ready for the next step.
Here is how it works:
- After setting your status in Slack, Microsoft Teams… Quit the software, or pause notifications.
- All Android and iOS devices have a focus mode now, use it whenever entering your DND time.
- Plan your day to have as many DND blocks as possible. A day with 2 x 2h DND blocks is better than an 8h day filled with meetings and unfocused work.
That’s it, I hope you’ll have as much DND time as you hope!
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