As a busy mom juggling work, 4 kids, volunteering, managing a home, and trying to take a bit of time each day to keep myself from going insane…
…time blocking has been a total game changer.
Because time blocking, when done right, allows you to get more done, crush your to-do list, and ultimately make time for the things that matter most.
And with this free time block planner printable and the detailed instructions in this post, you’ll have everything you need to take charge of your day and productivity.
In this post, we’ll cover:
- Why time blocking is such a powerful planning tool
- Examples of tasks to add to your time block schedule
- How to use the time block planner printable to create a time block schedule
Then you’ll find 8 different free time block planner templates you can download.
Let’s get started!
What Exactly is Time Blocking?
While time blocking (sometimes called time boxing) may not be a term you know, chances are you’ve probably done it at some point.
Basically, time blocking is a time management technique where you block off a period of time to complete a particular task.
For example, instead of checking your email or social media several times a day, in time-blocking, you’d set a chunk of time aside to do that.
Or instead of just saying, “today I’ll exercise,” you actually block out the time you are going to go for a run, hit “play” on the yoga video, or hit up the gym.
Instead of just hoping you hit everything on your daily to-do list you actually block out time to complete each task.
Why Time Block Planning Works
1. Time blocking is what takes your to-do list and actually makes it a reality.
Without scheduling the tasks on your to-do list, it’s really just a wish list.
Taking each task and blocking out actual time on your schedule to accomplish that task is what is going to get you to actually cross off the stuff on your to-do list.
2. Time boxing helps to prioritize the most important tasks.
When you just create a to-do list, your natural tendency is to hit up all the easy tasks. We want the thrill of getting things done. The problem is that this keeps us from the harder, but more important and fulfilling tasks.
When we block out time dedicated to the important tasks, we ensure that we’ll make progress on the important stuff and not just spend our time knocking out the easy wins.
3. It helps you be more efficient & productive.
Time blocking gives you space to focus on the task at hand instead of stressing over everything you have to get done. You can relax and focus because you know that you’ve set aside time to get the important things done.
And when you have space to focus, you’re much more efficient.
The truth is that without scheduling, your to-do list is just a wish list.
Time blocking was a game changer for me because instead of always feeling like I had a million things I should be doing at that exact second, I had one focus.
One task to work on.
Which gave me mental space to actually relax and be more focused and efficient.
Time blocking takes your to-do list and actually builds it into a schedule. Simply put, using a time block planner makes reaching your goals a reality. Which is why time blocking is such an effective time management strategy.
Examples of Tasks to Time Block in Your Day or Week
Time blocking is especially powerful when it comes to making space in your schedule for the important tasks that you always seem to procrastinate doing (like exercise).
Examples of specific tasks that can be blocked out on your time block planner printable:
- Daily cleaning tasks
- Family Time
- Meal Prep
- Helping kids with homework
- Shuttling kids to practices
- Making phone calls or texting
Use Time Blocking to Limit Distracting Tasks
And it can also help in minimizing the time spent on less important stuff by creating a built-in time limit.
For example, this could mean setting an exact time window each day/week to:
- Check the news
- Scroll social media
- Watch TV/movies
The great thing about carving out space for these things is that you can enjoy them guilt free!
How to Use Time Block Planner
Follow the steps below when using your time block planner printables. Note that you can download the various time blocking templates below or you can get The Planning Starter Kit.
Step 1: Pick a time and block out enough time to plan.
Planning is best to do when you have energy and aren’t rushed.
Effective planning and scheduling will help you get more done while feeling relaxed and on-top-of it and will save you hours each week and a whole lot of stress. To get these benefits, the most important thing you need to do is just block out time to plan your week.
Step 2: List Your Weekly Priorities, Goals & Most important Weekly Tasks.
This is the most important thing when it comes to planning. Because your goal in time blocking isn’t to cram in as much stuff as possible, it’s to make space to prioritize and accomplish the most important things.
You can use a weekly planner template to help you with this step.
Or you can grab The Planning Starter Kit which not only has a great weekly time blocking template, but it has an awesome weekly planner that walks you through identifying your most important weekly tasks and goals.
It also includes a matching daily planner template with a time blocking schedule.
Things to consider when planning priorities:
- Building in exercise into your schedule
- Meal planning
- Nurturing relationships
- Self care & Relaxation
Step 3: Start blocking tasks on your time block planner
With that planned, you’re now ready to start actually mapping out your week and setting out specific blocks of time for each task.
Take your goals and top priorities and now block out the exact time slot when you’re going to do each task. As you block out your time, do the following:
1. Block out tasks in order of importance. This ensures that you get to those important tasks.
2. Break down a large task into smaller steps/tasks and schedule out when you’ll do each step.
3. Give yourself waaay more time than you think you’ll need. Most people are far too optimistic when planning. We seem to think that nothing’s going to go wrong and that we’ll get things done super fast.
And the problem when you don’t schedule enough time is you feel rushed and like you’re falling behind (this is why people think schedules don’t work it’s because they don’t plan for real life when they plan!).
If, on the other hand, you finish earlier than planned, you get to feel super on top of it and get to fit in extra stuff into your day. As a general rule, I often take my 1st estimate of how long something will take me and I then double it. For some things, I’ve learned to block out triple the amount of time I think it will actually take me.
Optimism is a lovely quality. I am naturally very optimistic. However, I’ve learned that it just doesn’t have a place in planning!
Optimism is a lovely quality. It just has no place in planning!
4. Give yourself buffer times between tasks. Things come up and again, you don’t want to feel rushed or behind simply because you packed your schedule too tightly. Remember, something ALWAYS comes up. I have found that lowering my expectations, building in buffer times actually makes me more productive and I get way more done and am more effective than when I’m optimistic, and I quickly am off my schedule.
You may want to use a pencil so that you can adjust your schedule as needed (especially as you’re getting the hang of this strategy.
Step 4: Fill out the rest with buffer times included.
With all the most important stuff scheduled (with more than enough time to get them done) fill in the rest of your schedule. Be sure to still include buffer times so you don’t feel behind or rushed. Or if something unexpected crops up, you can easily adjust without throwing off your entire week.
Note that if you’ve got small children, you’ll need even more buffer time!
Creating a Basic Weekly Time Block Schedule
While you can create a new time block schedule for each week, I also find it extremely helpful to create a basic weekly time-block schedule that you work from each week.
This is great if your weeks are often pretty much the same.
You can create a generic time-block schedule that blocks out when you do your regular weekly tasks like exercise, grocery shopping, cleaning, picking up/dropping off kids, work, cooking, family time etc.
The benefit of this is that you have a basic idea of what your week should look like so when you do your weekly planning, you’re just tweaking your weekly schedule to work with the specifics of your week.
You can do this a number of ways. Here are my 2 suggestions:
1. Use one of the blank weekly time block planner printables and make your basic weekly schedule. One is include below. Grab a pencil and go. Build a weekly schedule that allows you to get done the things you want.
2. Use the Word template to create your weekly schedule. This is my preferred method. But admittedly, I’m a total scheduling nerd.
In the video below, I show you how to use Word to create a time block schedule for your family.
For the template mentioned in the above video, check out How to Create a Family Time Block Schedule.
8 Free Time Block Planning Printable Templates
Now that you know how to time block, you’re totally ready to grab the time block planner of your choice. Below you’ll find 8 different schedule templates.
These include weekly time block schedules as well as daily time blocking templates.
To download a printable, simply click the link below the PDF planner image. Note that these printables are for personal use only. To share, please share a link to this post.
1. Free Time Block Schedule Template
This simple time blocking template goes from Monday to Sunday. In the Planning Starter Kit, you can get the matching weekly and daily planners as well as more planning tips.
2. Weekly Time Block Planner Printable
3. Time-Blocking Template
4. Block Schedule Template
5. Free Printable Time Blocking Template
6. Daily Schedule Template
7. Daily Time Blocking Schedule
8. Free Printable Time Block Planning Template
Time Blocking: The Simple Way to Get More Done
I seriously hope that you give time blocking a try. It’s been such a powerful tool in helping me take control of my time and make space for the things that bring me joy.
Grab a free time block planner above, or better yet, grab The FREE Planning Starter Kit which has everything you need to get started with planning…including a fabulous time blocking template.
Ready to get started with planning? Grab the free Planning Starter Kit which includes:
- A Guide to Getting Started
- Daily Planning Template
- Weekly Planner
- Weekly Time Blocking Printable
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