Chunking Time

It’s the start to another new week, and a new time to (possibly) be challenged with accomplishing all you want (or need) to accomplish.

Having a To Do list is important so you know what needs to be done — but sometimes the list seems a bit overwhelming and you may try to multitask and end up starting many items while finishing few.

Chunking your time can help you be productive and get tasks done — especially if one of the tasks is writing. Isn’t it difficult to find the time to write when it’s one of a list of things to do?

I have two approaches to chunking: individual tasks and similar tasks.

Basically, you decide on the top 2, 3, or 4 ‘must-get-dones’ for the day and choose an amount of time to dedicate to each. Chunk that time in your schedule

Since I’m still using a paper planner, I use a highlighter to mark off time periods – a different color for each task/project. If you’re using an online planner, say, Google Calendar, it’s very easy to select different colors for different chunks of time.

What’s the benefit of chunking time? You can be fully focused on the task/project at hand knowing that you’ve dedicated the time to it. Other items will be done later, but for the chunked period, shiny object syndrome and procrastination gremlins should remain at bay.

Chunking time helps you relax – you know you’re attending to a priority and won’t have to hope to make up the time later. Sure a task may take multiple days, but chunk what you need and take some pressure off your shoulders.

I don’t think there’s anything worse than hoping to get to an item or saying “I’ll start that as soon as I finish this, this, and this.” Chunking is setting an appointment for yourself to be focused on one and only one task (or a set of similar tasks, such as making phone calls, setting appointments, replying to emails, and so on).

Writing can often fall off the plate for the day if paying work is present, but having a 1-hour chunk of time to solely focus on writing is encouraging. I know everything else will get done, but for this 1 hour (or however much time), I have the singular focus — it’s quite freeing.

Have you tried chunking your time before? Do you see the possibility with it?

Lisa J. Jackson Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She’s always trying new things in order to use her time most effectively. You can connect with her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn.

27 thoughts on “Chunking Time

  1. Hi Lisa,
    I’m all for chunking, especially when I’ve got two or three writing projects that all require attention (even if one is my blog – but that deserves my attention too). I use my alarm clock. Depending on the task, I set myself one- or two-hours, set the alarm clock, and away I go. And it’s amazing, because quite often I’m shocked when the time is up. If feels like only five minutes have elapsed, but I look at what I’ve written and voila, I’ve achieved something. The treat then is an hour off, a walk, a bowl of cheesy pasta. And then I sit back down and reset the alarm clock for the next chunk. I don’t think I could work like this every day…it’s far too regimented for me. But every couple of weeks I work like this for a day or two, especially when I’m working from home, and it’s incredibly productive!

  2. I tend to put one big task on the list per day. It’s a good feeling when I can accomplish that plus maybe one or two others. This way I always feel like I’m getting more than expected done.

  3. Thanks for this. I have been struggling with getting to my chapters because I am trying to build my blog. The chicken and the egg really. So, chunking may help with this. Thanks again.

  4. I’ve recently started doing this, as well. Another thing I’ve added to “chunking” is “turning off”. I found an extension for Firefox called Idderall that lets you schedule times where your browser disables certain sites that you set up. For instance, every day between 9am and 11am I am unable to open facebook, pinterest, twitter, etc. My SO receives a message if I cheat, and then I have to hear about it when he gets home! It adds an extra security to time chuncking… 🙂

  5. Chunking is such an unattractive word, we can do better. I live by the list and die by the list..
    For me it is pure Dessert. writing everyday, however the current task of packing up hearth.home to move back to San Francisco gobbles up All my time and I am relegated to quick quips on post it notes for further development
    My Menogendna is the coolest way to list and be listless..,op

  6. Pingback: Freelance Writer’s Journal/ Day 7 « the kronic crawler

  7. Pingback: 5 Time Management Strategies of Highly Effective People - Headlines Kart

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