Besides To-Do-List, Try This Method to Boost Your Productivity!

Levina Candita| 10 May 2024

We are undeniably familiar with the term ‘procrastinate’ – or even frequently experiencing that ourselves. Procrastinating, or intentionally delaying the completion of a specific activity or task in fact occurs although we may fully acknowledge the effects and consequences. This is proven by a study from Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology (2011), revealing that a high percentage of undergraduate students often postpone their academic responsibilities such as assignments, studying for exams, and writing term papers. 

One major contributor to procrastination comes from technological convergence (Thakkar, 2009), that allows us to do several things in a single device: checking email, texting, calling, entertainment (listening to music, watching videos/films/series). Affording people with these options will only create more distractions, hindering our ability to effectively complete our tasks. 

The conventional method like creating a ‘To-Do-List’ may seem helpful. However, are you certain that you will fulfil all the lists without getting distracted? Do you think it would be better if we determine when we are going to do our task instead of what we are going to do? 

 

This is when Time Blocking comes to play. Simply put, time blocking is when we schedule our day by allocating specific time blocks of the estimated time for completing tasks. The benefit of time blocking relies on how it assists us in prioritising and ensuring our deep focus on the specific task. Rather than telling us what to do, time-blocking helps us estimate which one is the urgent task and what can wait (Reisenwitz, 2021). Then, by determining the completion time, we can focus on that specific task before moving on to the next one instead of switching the tasks every few minutes. Consider this example to further understand why time blocking is very beneficial.

 

Although To-Do List allows you to manage your priorities, there is still a chance that you will try to do something similar to the left table: try to accomplish different things every few minutes. Since you only pay attention to what has to be done and put aside the ‘when’ you can complete them, switching your tasks will result in brain fatigue–due to focusing on different things in a short amount of time–which slows down our performance in the completion process, or even starts to procrastinate.

Furthermore, compared to To-Do-List, Time-Blocking is more flexible as it can be adjusted to a person’s working habits and schedule. For instance, you can group the smaller tasks before scheduling your time blocks to complete them at once. Using the table as an example, schedule one or two time blocks–let’s assume twenty to thirty minutes for each–to check or reply to your emails rather than checking them every few minutes. Another option is to decide a specific theme of what you are going to do during the day. For example, maybe you want to focus more on reading/revisiting lecture videos on Monday, and then focusing on preparing for assignments on Tuesday (Mind Journal, n.d.).I want to stress the importance of adjustment of the work time to our abilities here. For some people, it would probably be difficult to deep-focus on your assignments for two or three hours, so you can break your study time by making small intervals for your study time (say for 30-40 minutes) and taking short breaks (say for 5-10 minutes). Therefore, you can effectively finish your activities during the day smoothly. 

Time-Blocking is a powerful tool for improving productivity and task management through combating distractions, as it determines the estimated time along with our objectives, and it offers personalised adjustment to our habits. With its conveniences and benefits, do you still want to procrastinate and make technology an obstacle to your productivity?

 

Reference List

Mindjournal. (n.d.). What is time blocking? https://www.mindjournals.com/blogs/read/what-is-time-blocking

 

Rabin, L. A., Fogel, J., & Nutter-Upham, K. E. (2011). Academic procrastination in college students: The role of self-reported executive function. Journal of clinical and experimental neuropsychology, 33(3), 344-357. https://doi.org/10.1080/13803395.2010.518597 

Reisenwitz, C. (2021, November 12). Time blocking 101: Your guide to getting started. Clockwise. https://www.getclockwise.com/blog/time-blocking

Thakkar, N. (2009). Why Procrastinate: An Investigation of the Root Causes Behind Procrastination. Lethbridge Undergraduate Research Journal, 4(2), 1-12. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10133/1241

 

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