Even if you’re blocking of your day for reactive work, for example, the fact that you are controlling your schedule will allow you to dedicate some small blocks (perhaps at the schedule periphery) to deeper pursuits.(Another smart strategy in this context is to give open-ended reactive blocks secondary purposes: e.g., “process client requests; if I have downtime during this block, work on project X.”) Sometimes people ask if controlling time will stifle creativity.Anthropologists work with humans their cultures, societies, languages, and ways of life, in addition to their bones and artifacts.Some paleontologists do study the fossil record of humans and their relatives.In the right column, I add explanatory notes for these blocks where needed.Notice that I leave some extra room next to my time blocks.During this planning process I consult my task lists and calendars, as well as my weekly and quarterly planning notes.
My answer is again simple: periods of open-ended reactivity can be blocked off like any other type of obligation.
Time Blocking The image above shows my plan for a random Wednesday earlier this month.
My plan was captured on a single sheet of 24 pound paper in a Black n’ Red twin wire notebook. In the left column, I dedicated two lines to each hour of the day and then divided that time into blocks labeled with specific assignments.
If you’re serious about working deeply and producing high-end value, it should probably make you uncomfortable as well.
Using your inbox to drive your daily schedule might be fine for the entry-level or those content with a career of cubicle-dwelling mediocrity, but the best knowledge workers view their time like the best investors view their capital, as a resource to wield for maximum returns.