How can we be intentional with our “consistently inconsistent” time? Structuring our time during this era of remote work and learning is challenging and leaves many of us searching for some degree of consistency. The way school operates has shifted abruptly and is in a constant state of flux. As some schools transition into a hybrid learning schedule, many students are confronted with dissonant schedules: one day in person at school, two days of remote learning, and two days of self-structured, independent learning. So, how can we create (and maintain) structure in such an unstructured time?
“Time blocking” becomes a critical tool in building and following routines, even with “consistently inconsistent” schedules. It can be difficult to transition from in person learning days to asynchronous days, and for many of our students, having less structure on asynchronous days can be detrimental. It’s important to maintain a dependable day-to-day schedule. This means starting every day with the same morning routine, and developing a plan that is consistent, even on independent and virtual learning days. Maintaining a consistent schedule will help your student develop their routine and stick to it more easily—even when their school structure varies so much throughout the week.
What makes time blocking effective?
Time blocking breaks the day’s work into manageable chunks and gives us a visual representation of how we can get everything done in a timely manner. This method of planning makes it easier to stick to our plan and helps us feel less overwhelmed. It also forces us to think about how long each task will take us; recognizing those personal expectations helps us to form a more realistic and goal-oriented plan.
An effectively time-blocked week follows a similar structure each day. Your student’s schedule may look like this:
How can we make time blocking effective?
For time blocking to be as successful as possible, it is important to recognize what time of day you are most productive. If you know you are most productive in the morning, try to accomplish the tasks that take the most focus and attention in the morning and avoid scheduling tasks in the evening.
It’s as important to set time for breaks as it is to schedule work times. Taking time to intentionally pause for movement breaks will help you stay focused during work time. However, be disciplined with breaks and to make sure to get back to work when it’s time.
Color coding is an effective way to organize your time-blocked schedule. Maybe your morning routine is written or labeled in green, all meetings are in red, math is yellow, etc. This helps us to visualize our time and creates clear separation between tasks.
Having a long list of all of the assignments you need to complete can feel overwhelming. Time blocking is a simple technique we can use to make our list feel less daunting and can help us visualize a manageable way to execute each task. This method of planning helps us break down our daily tasks into manageable pieces, stay organized, and create consistency in our routines. Time blocking provides a dependable and predictable schedule, allowing us to more easily stick to a plan and follow through.