Time Chunking Your Life

“There’s so much to do and not enough hours in the day!” I am sure you have heard that expression before, or perhaps you have said it yourself. This statement shows a mentality of limitation. For people like you and I, who are trying to become happier and more productive humans, such phrases have no room in our vocabulary. Stephen Covey, the author of “The 7 habits of highly effective people,” mentions certain principles to live a happier and more successful life. The measure of such happiness and success depends upon each person practicing such principles in their daily lives. Balance in your life is one of those fundamental principles. However, we can only achieve balance if our life is properly organized, which leads to how well our time is managed.

How does it work?

There are many methods, applications, and books you can inquire about, which help you learn how to manage your time. All systems are different, but they have the same goal: Getting your day organized and making you feel more accomplished. Regardless of which system you choose, it is important to mention that you must choose one that can truly adapt to your lifestyle. Time chunking has been one of those systems that are very easy to adapt and make your own, simply because it is effortless to follow as long as consistency exists. Time chunking is very easy to understand. Basically, you are supposed to divide your entire day into time blocks of 30 min, where 25 min are utilized working on one specific task, and 5 min are used for a short break. Then, another block starts. Every fourth-time chunk, you are allowed to take a well-deserved 15 min break instead of 5 min. The basic premise of this method is that your time blocks are goal-oriented. You are supposed to finish the assigned task in the number of blocks you have allotted. Most importantly, you must only work on one task during each chunk. Multitasking will actually lead to distraction. Of course, some tasks can be completed in one chunk, but some others may require two or even four slots. The importance is the result. You want to make sure such an assignment is finished when the time blocks are up. This is where you must recognize your distractions and eliminate them for 25 min. Then, you have 5 min to release your brain from this task and start over again.

Can I make changes?

As mentioned before, any time management method must adapt to your lifestyle. It would help if you made it your own to increase your chances of following it in the long run. This must become a habit. As we know, building new habits takes an enormous amount of effort, diligence, and consistency. To improve the odds, How can you adapt this method to fit your lifestyle? Very simple, feel free to change it! Don’t worry about having only 25 min to work and then a break. If 25 min is too short for you, then increase the working time. Perhaps listening to an alarm telling you your 25 min are up against is too distracting, and it takes you out of focus. So, instead, give yourself 50 min to complete a more complicated task, then take perhaps 10 min break. The whole point is to organize your day in a way where you are setting specific time frames to work on specific tasks. The goal of time chunking is for you to finish those tasks. So, as long as you work uninterrupted for a certain amount of time, you are Time chunking your life! Try it out and experiment with it. Maybe in the mornings, you want longer time frames, but you want more breaks in the afternoon because your energy level dips a little. It is not set in stone. But remember, it must be uninterrupted time. So, discourage any interruptions. For instance: Do not allow your coworkers to stop by without an appointment, check and respond to email only 2 times a day, turn your cell phone off, tell your family member you will return phone calls at the end of the day or after a certain hour. Most importantly, it becomes a habit, so it has to adapt to you to have better chances to become a routine.

How can I make it successful?

Making time chunking successful may be difficult initially, just as creating any new habit is. There will be up and downs. There will be days when you are just tired and sluggish and do not want to follow the schedule. So, it is important to make sure you are doing other things to help you succeed with this method and any other one you may choose. Diet, exercise, and proper sleep are essential to achieving any goals in your professional or personal life. This seems like old advice, but sleep deprivation has been proven to lead to much human error. The same goes for a bad diet. There’s only so much your body can take and so long your brain will work properly if only junk food is being fed to your body. Of course, diet and exercise are individual for each of us. Our age and possible illnesses play a role, so we must always follow the doctor’s advice on this one. Another important aspect is stress. We can only be as productive and efficient as we can keep stress under control. And guess what? That is the whole point of implementing some time management system in your life. The less time demands you have, the more time you will have to relax and spend time with family.

Final Thoughts

What I have found most satisfying about time chunking is its simplicity. Time chunking is adaptable. There aren’t any big checklists to do and to keep. It doesn’t feel overwhelming because it doesn’t give you any more work than you already have. You are simply dividing the work you already have into a more attainable schedule. Simple methods are sometimes much easier than other fancy systems that expect us to add another 3 hours of work weekly to set it up. Give Time chunking a test drive! Hopefully, it will adapt easily to your life!