part 1


Time-blocking is a way to proactively schedule your calendar so you get the most important things done without rushing and going from task to task.

Time-blocking is a way to say ‘no’ categorically to projects you didn’t plan for. On the other hand, it means saying ‘yes’ to the identified most important tasks. The basis for this principle is priority management. Once you know what is important to achieve your goals, you know what to say ‘no’. to.

You’ll get more done and your calendar will look more like the calendar on the right side of the image.

Create deep work blocks for important tasks

Add a recurring block of Deep Work to your calendar. Work on the task list you've created above from top to bottom to work on the most important elements.

Most people have better focus and attention at the beginning of the day. Use this to your advantage, by scheduling work that requires a lot of thinking capacity in the mornings. Minimise distractions and set up a big block of time, so you can work uninterrupted on the ONE thing first thing in the morning.

Schedule a block of uninterrupted time in the morning to focus on the Most Important Task from the short list you’ve made in the Eisenhower Matrix. This is called a Deep Work block. Deep work is an uninterrupted block of time with full focus and no distraction where you get your best work done.

Deep work is the deliberate act of closing off all distractions and working on one thing at a time.

Create focus blocks for Deep Work

Create blocks of 60-120 minutes in your calendar where you are uninterrupted and work on that most important Tasks. and work on that most important Tasks.

Adding the Deep Work blocks is the first step to time-blocking your calendar, to take control over your schedule.

Turn on 'Do Not Disturb' when in focus mode

Turn off chat notifications when in Deep Work Mode

The ONE Thing

Gary Keller says in this excellent book The ONE Thing, that having focus time (which is deep work) is the most important productivity hack available. And I agree.

Every day I start with 90 minutes (or more) of uninterrupted, focussed work. My phone is turned off, my email is blocked with Freedom and I have time to work on the task I’ve set the previous day. When I sit down behind my computer I know exactly what to work on. It’s a great feeling to get a big task off your plate and make massive progress before 11AM.

In fact, I love this so much that I keep waking up earlier and earlier to extend the focus time. Many days I’ve been in ‘Maker’ mode, creating things and writing content before 9AM and I still have an entire day ahead of me. It’s a great feeling of control and personal autonomy.

When I’m in Deep Work I prefer not to read any emails. It’s distracting me, because if there is something I have to fix I still think about it. I block out everything to keep my mind completely immersed in the Deep Work. Instead of playing the Inbox Zero game, I play Zero Inbox until 11AM when I’m in Deep Work mode.

If you want to read more on the topic, I recommend the book Deep Work by Cal Newport.

To protect my time and have the most interrupted time as possible, I use time blocking to create deep work blocks. It’s simply blocking out time in my calendar so people can’t schedule any meetings.

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Schedule time to process email

Block out time in your calendar to process email. My recommendation is to create 3 time-blocks to process email. Read how to process email.

Schedule time to plan next week

If you want to go home on Friday with closure of the week, I recommend setting aside some time to plan next week. Friday is a great time to go over next week’s calendar and see if any conflicts have arisen, or if you want to shift priorities and cancel or postpone a meeting. It’s better to let the meeting attendees know before the weekend.

Create room for error

A related concept is to leave room for error. If you add meetings to each hour of the week, there is no room for anything to go wrong. And we both know stuff will go wrong. It’s better to leave room for

Schedule 60-80% of your time and leave the rest open for unexpected tasks. If you’re a really good planner you can lean towards 80%, but I recommend starting with 60% of your time scheduled. This is one of the reasons why you should have clear priorities.

A concept that is very similar is a ‘fire break’. In a forest a few meters of trees are removed so the fire can’t spread to a larger area of the forest.

You can add a fire break to your work week by leaving Friday afternoon empty to wrap up the week and use it as a buffer to solve anything you need to solve that week.

‍Schedule recurring tasks in Calendar

  • It’s possible to schedule recurring tasks at different frequencies (daily, weekly, monthly or custom). You can have a meeting recur every 2 weeks
  • Recurring meetings should always have an end date. This prevents meetings from cluttering up the calendar while they should’ve been cancelled weeks ago. When the meeting range ends, you can always create a new meeting, but you have to add everyone again. This is a great way to verify if all attendees are necessary in the meeting.

Plan ahead and leave some buffer

It’s better to look ahead and to leave some buffer. That prevents stress and conflicting meetings.

  • Add travel time to your calendar (driving for 60 mins before a meeting for example)
  • Add 10 minutes before meeting someone new to research them on LinkedIn and check out their company website
  • Add 30 minutes after a meeting to write out the meeting notes and share the action points with the attendees

Every week I close off my week with a weekly review. When I plan my week on Friday I look ahead to see if any meetings need to be rescheduled or if any of my priorities need to be changed.


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Master your focus
Working smarter

Master your focus

Minimise distractions from your devices, get control by keeping your focus and feel on top of work, instead of being distracted and feeling overwhelmed.


Working smarter

Align daily tasks with OKRs and higher goals
Smooth collaboration for any team size
Onboard new people in days, instead of weeks