Block schedule your meetings

Block schedule your meetings

October 6, 2021
, Last updated: 
December 8, 2021

For the eighth article in our Find Your Flow series, we cover why you should try to block schedule your meetings each day.

The average exec spends about half their workweek in meetings. That leaves only about half your week to get deep work done.

Worse yet, this figure doesn’t take into account the other effects meetings have on our workday, like the time spent prepping for meetings. Then there’s the time it takes to get back into flow following meetings. Worst case scenario, a poorly planned day with meetings staggered throughout the day, means you won’t have long time blocks to put your head down and find your flow.

Obviously, the best solution is to simply reduce our number of meetings. However, when that’s not possible, the next best solution is to block schedule your meetings as much as humanly possible.

What do we mean by block schedule?

The idea behind block scheduling is fairly simple - try to lump all your meetings for the day into a time block. That way you don’t constantly context switch between deep, productive work, and hopping onto another zoom call.

It doesn’t even need to be a single block in your day. For example, if you have some morning meetings, and later afternoon meetings, then time block the middle of your day for deep work.

Another idea is to set aside days of the week specifically for meetings, and shoehorn everything into those days, giving you the rest of the week for pure productivity and focus.

Obviously, you can’t always control your schedule, and not every day will be a perfect example of block scheduling. But the more you can group your meetings together, the better your days will flow.

The benefits of block scheduling your meetings

The primary benefit, as mentioned above, is reducing the number of times you have to context switch between meeting mode and deep work mode. It takes an average of 25 minutes to return to the original task after an interruption. So if you schedule one meeting 30 minutes after another one, you have no time for real productivity in-between meetings. 

Another benefit of making your meetings back-to-back is having a great excuse to wrap up a meeting at the scheduled end time. It’s usually a good idea to start meetings by announcing you have a hard stop, that way it comes as no surprise at the end.

How you can carve out focus time with Taskable

With Taskable’s ‘adding tasks to calendar’ feature, you can start to block focus time in your calendar to prevent meetings from being scheduled in the time you’ve designated for focus. This forces colleagues or people using your Calendly to book in the available slots.

Head to the Today view in Taskable, and begin scrolling forward days to see where you can carve out that focus time. We try to scroll forward up to five days ahead and make sure each day has some time set aside for focus.

You should also make sure your Calendly settings don’t add buffer time between meetings, otherwise, it will not allow booking a meeting back-to-back with your existing meetings.

December 8, 2021

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