I am 1 and a half years into my PhD, which technically means i’m half way, although with the amount of work I have to do it definitely does not feel like that. Due to time going so quickly, and me being lucky enough to get the opportunity to teach this semester, whilst also maintaining my other volunteer roles, my calendar is the fullest it has ever been.
This is why I have started using the ‘time blocking’ organisation technique where I completely schedule my days. Although I have always been organised and used To Do-lists, it was time to go that one step further.
As you would know if you have read my previous posts, my diary is my BFF, and that is still true, however I am now also very reliant on my email calendar. I used to try to avoid using it because I liked the ‘old fashion’ book diary, but sometimes my diary is not with me so it is important that I also have all my schedules and time blocking in my email calendar (which I can access through my phone). The other helpful feature on the email calendar is it give me reminders. This means I don’t miss important meetings, and also means that I get a warning when it is time to switch to my next task.
To give you a better idea of how I set out my time blocking here is a page out of my diary (please excuse the messy writing, at least you know its a genuine page- not one I created just for the blog!):
& here is a day out of my email calendar:
So as you can see, time blocking is essentially timetabling your day to fit in all the tasks you need to get done.
If you do use the time blocking technique, always ensure you set up your schedule to suit your own productivity strengths. For example, I know that I cannot read and note textbooks for long periods of time so I schedule smaller (30 minutes) periods throughout the day for text book reading.