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What is 'time blocking'? Learn all about this efficient TikTok trend

Georgetown associate professor Cal Newport says the time management method can be a great way to get more done each day.
/ Source: TODAY

Looking for a more efficient way to be productive? Then, you might want to try "time blocking."

This latest TikTok trend is great for those who want to do more with their day and stick to a productive schedule. If you execute it right, you can stop procrastinating on important projects and letting things fall through the cracks. "Time blocking" is the perfect way to kick 2022 off if you want to stick to your goals.

A person wearing a camel-colored sweater writes in a notebook.
A person wearing a camel-colored sweater writes in a notebook.Kristina Strasunske / Getty Images

What is "time blocking"?

TODAY correspondent Morgan Radford explains that "time blocking" is "a way to break your day into chunks, devoting specific and limited amounts of time to each task. Focusing deeply and exclusively on the progress of those tasks. And the key? You build this plan the night before."

Does "time blocking" really work?

Georgetown associate professor Cal Newport says that "time blocking" can be "near miraculous" for anyone who wants to be more productive with their day.

"Young people are realizing, 'I have a lot to do. It's unclear how to get it done,'" he told Radford. "What I hear again and again from people that switch to 'time block' planning is they are getting twice as much done in the same amount of work time."

Small business owner Dana Walton, who is also a single mother to her 3-year-old son, told TODAY that "time blocking" has helped her "eliminate all the distractions" in her day-to-day life.

Plus, Britney Brown, a mom of five, told Radford that making a "time blocking" schedule has helped her a lot with her ADHD.

A woman holds a cellphone by a laptop while writing on a notepad.
A woman holds a cellphone by a laptop while writing on a notepad. MStudioImages / Getty Images

ADHD is short for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, which according to The John Hopkins School of Medicine's website, is "a behavior disorder, usually first diagnosed in childhood, that is characterized by inattention, impulsivity, and, in some cases, hyperactivity."

"It removes that amount of panic that comes when you're not exactly sure what you're supposed to be doing," Brown said about her "time blocking" schedule. "It helps that a lot."

How should you make your "time block" schedule?

Walton makes sure that she plans out her day from the moment she wakes up at 6 a.m. to the moment she falls asleep around 11:30 p.m.

"It literally is: wake up, breakfast, brush your teeth, make breakfast for your kid, drop off, pick up, any meetings that I have for work, any non-negotiables throughout the day, and the periods that I need to have it — it's all literally blocked off," she said.

Don't forget to carve out as much time as you need to get a task done. Newport says that's the No. 1 mistake that people make when they first start "time blocking." He also suggests batching together all of your small tasks like scheduling appointments or calling your doctor's office so that you can get those done in a quick manner and give yourself more time throughout the day.

A woman sits by a window and writes in a journal while covering herself with a blanket.
A woman sits by a window and writes in a journal while covering herself with a blanket.Westend61 / Getty Images

What about your breaks?

Although "time blocking" is great for keeping you on schedule, you also have to make sure to carve out time for breaks. Newport says that this practice is "crucial" for your mental health.

When you first start "time blocking," Newport said you shouldn't expect to feel like you're off to a great start. People typically tell him that "it's exhausting at first," but once they get into the habit of doing it, they "can't believe how much work" they're getting done.

How is "time blocking" different from a to-do list?

"A to-do list is at the core of what I call the reactive method," Newport explained. "You react to what's coming at you and say, 'What do I want to do next?' 'Time blocking' can be much more proactive. You're saying, 'OK, I'm actually going to look at the day in advance. What's the best allocation of what I could be doing to the time that's available?' And then once you have that plan, you can actually just put your head down and execute."