Realistic Calendar Blocking for the Agile Knowledge Worker

Calendar blocking is the only way to identify and avoid distraction.

In a world that tempts us with “a little bit of everything, all of the time,” resisting distraction is the most valuable skill. Yet distraction isn’t always easy to recognize, especially when it comes in the guise of other things we need to do.

Here’s how to use calendar blocking to gain control over your schedule.

Set realistic schedules.

Setting an overly ambitious schedule inevitably leads to disappointment.

The hard part is figuring out what’s infeasible, and that has to come with time. In the meantime, expect to change your schedule.

Use digital tools.

Calendar Tetris isn’t fun– but there are tools that can help.

If you expect to change your schedule, choose tools that make that easier. I use to change my calendar in response to changing priorities.

Do a weekly review.

Review how well you stuck to your schedule and adjust it accordingly.

A good schedule, like a good budget, changes over time. Set aside a time every week to assess the previous week and set priorities for the next week.

Relate your schedule to your core principles.

Your calendar should be the reflection of the values you hold.

But what are those values? Keep a list of the principles you live by (or want to live by). Look at your calendar as a way to keep yourself on track.

Reframe restriction as freedom.

When you don’t set your calendar, others set it for you.

Restriction isn’t following a schedule you set. Restriction is being subject to the passing whims of bugs and meetings that demand your attention.

Calendar blocking defends your time.

It frees you to do things you decide are important.

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