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The Mental Energy Advantage: A Smarter Approach to Time Blocking

“The key is not to prioritise what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” — Stephen Covey

Time blocking has long been a go-to productivity technique for managing schedules.

The traditional time-blocking approach has limitations.

To optimise time blocking, we must consider the crucial role our mental energy, or “focus fuel,” plays in our daily lives.

Limitations of Traditional Time Blocking

Traditional time blocking, which schedules tasks based on importance or urgency, neglects to account for our fluctuating mental energy.

This oversight can lead to over-committing, rigidity, and lack of flexibility, ultimately decreasing productivity and increasing stress. You can’t maintain constant deep focus throughout the day. You need to time block more strategically and account for periods of high, low, and no focus.

This approach enables you to do the right thing at the right time, making you more efficient, flexible, and focused.

Enhance Time Blocking by Matching Tasks to Focus Fuel

  1. Assess your tasks: Identify your tasks and their required mental energy levels. Consider if they demand deep focus, low focus, orsoft they allow for interruptions.
  2. Plan your day: Schedule tasks based on your typical mental energy fluctuations throughout the day. For instance, tackle deep-focus tasks during peak energy periods and save low-focus tasks for when your energy dips.
  3. Adjust your schedule: Allow flexibility to accommodate unexpected changes in mental energy or unforeseen interruptions. Be ready to adjust tasks accordingly.
  4. Track your progress: Monitor your performance and mental energy levels throughout the day. Use this information to fine-tune your time-blocking approach.
  5. Rest and recharge: Schedule regular breaks to rest and recharge your mental energy. This will help you maintain focus and productivity throughout the day.

By incorporating these tips into your time-blocking routine, you can enhance your approach by matching tasks to your mental energy. This will help you:

  • Avoid overcommitting and reduce overwhelm.
  • Be more flexible and adaptable by selecting tasks that align with your current mental state.
  • Increase productivity and reduce stress by minimising cognitive load and concentrating on the task at hand.

Try this approach and boost your productivity and mindset.

By aligning tasks with mental energy, you’ll unlock new levels of efficiency, creativity, and overall well-being.

Do you time-block your entire day?

I always leave room in my schedule for the unexpected or changes in focus fuel. I plan approx 3-6 hours per day.

What app do you use for time-blocking?

I use Sunsama as my daily planner tool. It integrates with Google Calendar, time tracking of tasks, grouping tasks into Focus Driver modes and time-blocking.

Does time-blocking mean planning your entire day or week?

No, time-blocking can be as simple or complex as you decide. Choosing to work on deep focus tasks (Sports mode) for the next 60 minutes is time-blocking.

Does Focus Drivers require time-blocking?

Nope. Focus Drivers is a framework for focus which can be applied to any way you tackle tasks. If you use time-blocking, Eisenhower Matrix, Pomodoro timer, GTD, Atomic Habits or any other method — Focus Drivers can enhance how you use them.

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