Elon Musk, the billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, follows a strict time-blocking routine. While there isn’t much specific information available on how he plans his day, he says he usually works an 80-hour week, split between his two principal businesses. Within this hectic program, he follows a rigorous method of scheduling each day into five-minute increments.
Time blocking is a popular way of organizing your work schedule. Also known as timeboxing, this is a simple system that involves splitting the working hours, and sometimes downtime too, into units of time which are then allocated for specific activities.
Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of time blocking.
What Is The Time Blocking Method?
We all have specific tasks we must finish in a day. Time blocking is the process of dividing the day into slots for different jobs.
If what we know about Elon Musk time blocking habits is correct, he divides his day into five-minute slots for emails, reading, business meetings, phone calls and so on. The bulk of his day is spent on design and engineering. This is an effective time blocking example.
The Purpose Of Elon Musk Time Blocking
This method boosts productivity. It does this in several ways:
- It forces you to plan each task ahead, to reflect on how long it’ll take and allocate a specific amount of time to it
- It stops you from working on one thing for too long before shifting gears to work on something different. In this way, we can keep thinking creatively without getting bored or exhausted
- It helps you avoid procrastination
- By blocking these times out beforehand, you can focus on work without getting slowed down by the decision-making process
- It allows you to schedule breaks. You can’t be focused and productive all day long, we need time for rest, too
Now let’s look at how to ensure time blocking success.
How To Implement Time Blocking
By learning a few simple techniques, you too can set yourself up to win with time blocking. Since it’s a flexible method, you can experiment and find out what works for you. Here are a few rules of thumb to follow:
- The unit of time you choose in your own time blocking method is up to you and your working style. A common time blocking example is an hourglass schedule, divided into 60-minute segments.
- The idea behind a five-minute time block method is that by looking at the day at a more granular level, you might boost productivity further.
- By breaking the day down like this, you’ll leave no block of time unused. It also forces you to be brutal about prioritizing what is most important. You can schedule more than one 5-minute block for an activity.
The time blocking method is effective in part because of its simplicity. You can make it even more simple by creating a method that works for you using time blocking tips.
Time Blocking Tips
There are many ways to integrate the time blocking method into your day. Let’s look at a few:
1. Pen And Paper
The simplest way to get started with time blocking is by jotting down your task list with timings on a notepad. You can take it a step further by dividing a page into three columns. In the first, break down each unit of time. In the second, allocate one or several blocks of time to an activity. In the third, record the status of each activity.
2. An Existing App
Excel, Google Calendar or any other tool that you already have on your computer or phone can work as effective time blocking apps. Create a sheet or an easy-to-use system of notation. Calendars also allow you to integrate alarms if you’d prefer a reminder when your time slot is up.
3. Time Blocking Apps
There are many time blocking apps you can use to track your working hours. If you feel 5 minutes is too small an amount of time, you can use 10-minute blocks instead. Time blockers make it easier to track your time allocation. They might also have a warning sound. Apps for the Pomodoro technique also have a ticking sound that might help improve focus.
Whether or not you download time blocking apps is your choice. The idea is to keep organized and leave nothing until the last moment.
Don’t feel boxed in by timeboxing. Remember that you can adapt the method to your needs. You can create new time-blocking templates and strategies based on Elon Musk’s method. Creative work, such as writing a novel or film script, can work very well in blocks, but five minutes might be too short to accomplish anything. In that case, block off several chunks of time for one activity before moving on to the next or taking a break.
With Harappa’s Practicing Excellence course, you’ll learn how to improve your productivity and realize the benefits of time blocking. Managing your time better is one of the easiest ways to improve your performance. You’ll learn techniques such as Pomodoro and frameworks such as the Eisenhower Matrix to plan ahead to set you up for success.