Monday, January 25, 2010


I'm not sure if that's the official name, but I first read about it on Problogger. (I think. I can't for the life of me find the post where I thought I read it, so I'm not totally sure.)

Task blocking is a time management and task management technique. It's where you group similar tasks in blocks, or chunks, rather than bouncing all over doing this and that. It makes you more productive with the time that you have.

Let's say, for example, that in a typical week you have a list of tasks you want to get done. You want to write, read blogs, write your own blog, answer email, do social networking, work on marketing, etc. If you're like me then you get on the computer and maybe you start writing but it's moving slowly so you bounce over to Twitter. You get sucked into the Twitter-verse for 20 minutes, then you turn back to your writing and work on that for a while, and then you check email, but there are ones that have to be answered so that takes another 30 minutes, you start in on writing again and realize that you forgot to check Facebook to update your status and wish those having birthdays a Happy Birthday. Then you check email again. And maybe Twitter. Then the phone rings and you talk for a while. Then you check email again. You get back to writing when someone is at the door. Then you realize you forgot to write a blog post for the day... and so on. Then your time is gone and you look back trying to figure out how to fit it all in. Does that sound familiar?

If you block your tasks, then you would have a certain time you've set aside for email, maybe the first thing or the last thing of the day or maybe during your lunch break. You would have a certain day set aside for writing blog posts for the week. You would have a certain time each day when you write--and that's all you do. From what I've heard this makes you more efficient, because then you aren't splitting your attention, focus, and time.

Elana doesn't call it task blocking, but she has the technique down, as you can see by this post of hers.

I need to task block way better than I do. But that means that I need to have a realistic idea of how much time different tasks take up. For the next week I've decided to write down how much time I spend on what. Then I can set up my PLAN.

And for fun I thought I'd report the stats next week, because who doesn't love stats?

What about you? Are the blocking type, or the zing around from thing to thing like a ping pong ball type?


Nisa said...

When my kids are up, I zing because it's just the way life is with a 2 and 4 year old. When they're in blissful slumber, I definitely block! Great post!

WindyA said...

I'm a zinger. I can't help it. It's the gemini in me. Plus 2 little kidlets running amok doesn't help quell the A.D.D. Lol!

Carolyn V. said...

I think I zing, but I need more blocking! =)

L.T. Elliot said...

I'm kind of in the middle, although I'm making my way into blocking more. =] Good luck, Jaime!

Elana Johnson said...

Oh, I block baby. I'm like, "I'm going to read 10 blogs. Go!" And then I'm on to the next thing. Mostly farming. ;-)

Rhonda said...

When it comes to my writing and my on-line life, I'm totally a zinger (and not the yummy, frosted, cream filled variety). I've thought about being more structured and formal about it but I think I need the ability to jump from one thing and back again. If the writing is going too slowly then I can catch up on e-mail, blogs, etc. instead of just staring at the blinking cursor.

Kerrie said...

I am a zinger, but I have found that I work better if I block time for certain tasks and stick to it. Like right now, I blocked time for blogging, and here I am.

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

Can't wait to see how you do. Does she tell you to reward yourself for task blocking with chocolate? If so, I'm all over that! :0)

Taffy said...

I decided to try a daily list because I zing and don't get anything done. It's much better!

I did a post on my family blog about it: