How do you plan your workday? Do you perform important tasks first or just play it by ear? Do you carefully plan each day or just do things between meetings scheduled by others?
If you are struggling with time and task management, the act of time blocking might be the solution. And there is no better way to stick to a schedule you set than printing it and popping it on the wall in front of you.
These free printable planners are ideal for time blocking which helps you to take care of your tasks efficiently and effectively.
The 80/20 Rule and Time Blocking
You may have heard of the 80/20 rule in relation to time management. But if not, it is also known as the Pareto principle and uses the theory that 80 percent of your results come from 20 percent of your effort.
Looking at it differently, if the largest amount of your output (80 percent) comes from the smallest amount of your time (20 percent), then this means you must plan effectively. To do this, you have to prioritize your tasks. There are four things you can do when managing those tasks with the 80/20 rule:
- Evaluate your tasks regularly.
- Keep reassessing your goals.
- Identify your most productive time.
- Determine and eliminate distractions.
This is where time blocking comes in which is a simple way to manage your tasks and your time. In a nutshell, you set aside blocks of time in your day to work on very specific tasks and nothing else.
For instance, you may block your calendar from 8 AM to 8:30 AM, Monday through Friday, to update the timeline for your highest priority project. If you use a digital planner like Google Calendar, just create the event, head to the event details page, and make it repeat on weekdays.
By blocking time for your most important tasks, you can determine the best time to do them and reduce distractions during this predetermined timeframe.
But as we explained before, time blocking isn’t just for crucial tasks. Blocking time for reactive work, for when you’re least productive, or even for playtime can be just as important.
For example, maybe by 4pm each day your body and mind are wearing down. You could block your calendar from 4pm to 4:30pm daily to catch up on low-priority emails. Again, you can create a recurring event like this on your digital calendar.
What happens if you don’t use or prefer not to use a digital calendar? That’s why you’re here! We have free printable daily and weekly planner templates that you can use in the same way to block your time. (You might also want to try these special time trackers to identify time-wasters.)
Daily Planner Templates
Often times planning tasks day by day is enough to handle when you first start to use time blocking. Or, maybe you would simply rather use a daily planner. Here are some great productivity printables to get any work done.
Getting right down to the details, this first template breaks your day into 15-minute increments. If you are busy from the second you arrive in the office until the second you leave, this might be ideal for you.
Print the planner, jot down the date and your time blocks, and then consider color-coding them with a highlighter for easy viewing.
If 15 minutes is too detailed, you can use this colorful 30-minute planner. After you print it, pop in the day or the date and the top and then continue with your time blocks. Even though this template is in color, if you just have a black and white printer it still works great.
This next template is useful for those who need a planner that starts and ends at midnight. It is also great for those who prefer a landscape view and time blocks broken down into 15-minute increments.
For a daily planner that takes you from 8am to 7pm and has extra sections, this next template is terrific. The time blocks are in 30-minute increments and the additional sections are super handy. You can pop in your tasks, calls, emails to follow-up on, high-priority items, and notes, all on one page. Plus, just circle the current month and day at the top.
Weekly Planner Templates
Maybe you like the idea of blocking time each day for an entire week, like in our digital calendar examples above. Here are four nice printables for planning your week.
From 8am to 9pm, seven days per week, you can easily create time blocks with this 30-minute weekly planner. This option is ideal if you work late nights, on weekends, or want to be sure you block out that time for relaxation.
If you like the 30-minute incremental planner for your week, but would rather stick to Monday through Friday and don’t mind the military time, here is your template. This one has a very basic look but gets the job done.
This template gives you one-hour blocks for each day, Monday through Friday. But it also includes a weekend spot, a place for a prioritized task list, a people to call section, and a notes area.
Remember, once you print this and add your items, you can highlight them to see those time blocks at a glance.
Another template with one-hour blocks, five days per week, and extra sections is this colorful option. You have places for tasks and notes for each day at the bottom. So, if you would like a printable with a cute theme and colors, this template is perfect.
Do You Use Time Blocks for Managing Your Days?
Time blocks can be extremely helpful for task prioritization. Having that designated time frame to work on important tasks each day can help you accomplish what’s needed when it’s needed.
And if you use Google Drive, take a look at custom planners that are easy to make.