Time Blocking and Productivity (Cal Newport)

The article below was mentioned in another post. I think the technique is interesting enough for its own thread:

Deep Habits: The Importance of Planning Every Minute of Your Work Day

I call this planning method time blocking . I take time blocking seriously, dedicating ten to twenty minutes every evening to building my schedule for the next day. During this planning process I consult my task lists and calendars, as well as my weekly and quarterly planning notes. My goal is to make sure progress is being made on the right things at the right pace for the relevant deadlines.

This type of planning, to me, is like a chess game, with blocks of work getting spread and sorted in such a way that projects big and small all seem to click into completion with (just enough) time to spare.

Three Concerns

Sometimes people ask why I bother with such a detailed level of planning. My answer is simple: it generates a massive amount of productivity . A 40 hour time-blocked work week, I estimate, produces the same amount of output as a 60+ hour work week pursued without structure.

Does anyone here plan their time like that?


I’m meaning to do this some time very soon.


I do this in more detail than the article and to save time I keep my schedule the same for the week.

It definitely amps up productivity. I find it makes me get around 5x more done in the day. .


I tried it but I couldn’t keep up, so much that I don’t even make it to the first hour. Though I’ll admit it’s really productive.


I have plans to do this. The article is really interesting, thanks for these cool thoughts!


So you can now do in 10 minutes what you used to do in 1 hours? Or put differently, fit what used to be an entire workday into the average length of a movie?

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:grin: :+1:

Well I admit that I didn’t quite mean it this way.



Even though this is simply put differently, in an entire day these are very different things. Most of us can sort of continue to work for 1 hour straight, it won’t be as efficient but its definitely doable. The amount of time you save micro-scheduling for 1 hour is not too large. As the day continues the amount of hours you save in 24 hours on the other-hand grows exponentially.

This also kind of eliminates procrastination, I have had successful consecutive 16 hour work days with this. I would also say its fair to say that a average complex procrastinated unscheduled 15 hour day is at most really 3 hour worth of a micro-scheduled version.

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That appears to be some very interesting math… just be careful not to create a black hole as you’re approaching speed of light with your efficiency.

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