Time Blocking

How to use the time blocking strategy

Christina avatar
Written by Christina
Updated over a week ago

What is time blocking?

Time blocking is a productivity strategy where you block out chunks of time in your calendar for specific activities. 

It is not the same as scheduling specific tasks onto a calendar where you would schedule a task like "Fill out form A-20" to do at 9:00 on Monday. 

But instead you might reserve Monday from 8-11am for "Paper work" and Tuesday from 1-5pm for "Marketing".

This is what a time blocking schedule looks like for example:

How to set up time blocks

To add a time block open the controls sidebar by clicking "C" in the calendar or clicking the button in the top right. 

In the control sidebar you can select if you want to add a time block with a simple click or by holding shift and clicking: 

If you are about to set up lots of time blocks, using a simple click to add them is easier.

Also make sure the "Show Time Blocks" is enabled or you won't be able to add them.

Click to add time block

Click where you want your timeblock to start and add the title for your timeblock. Then adjust the size to determine the length of the timeblock.

Copying timeblocks

Most often a timeblock shows up multiple times in your week. Instead of creating them over and over, you can copy them by holding shift and dragging them to another place.

Re-using timeblocks

Once you created a time block (gave it a name, color, icon and assigned it to a category/Smart List etc.) you can re-use it by simply using the same name for another timeblock. 

This means when two timeblocks have the same name, they are the same timeblock. 

Picking a color

If the name of the block corresponds with the name of a main category, the color will automatically be taken over.

You can pick a color manually by hovering over the timeblock and clicking the cog icon at the top right:

Connecting it to a Smart List

If you want Marvin to understand what a timeblock means, you can connect it to a category, project label or Smart List.

To do so either click on the title to edit it and append #categoryName or @label, or click the cog icon and select a Smart List from the dropdown menu 

If you are grouping by Time Block Sections, Marvin will try to place scheduled tasks into your sections automatically based on this connection.

Resizing a block

To resize a time block hover over it and click the little indicator at the bottom middle or top middle. Drag the timeblock to the correct size. 

Moving a time block

You can move a time block by hovering over it until a hand cursor appears and then clicking it to drag.

Deleting time blocks

You can delete a time block by hovering over it and clicking the trash icon at the top right.

Saving and pasting entire weeks

You can save timeblocks for an entire week by opening the controls sidebar (C or button on the top right) and then clicking the "Save Week Template" button.

Seeing the breakdown of your week

If you click the piechart icon at the very top right  or press "T" on your keyboard a sidepanel opens on the left that shows you how much time you allocated this week for each area of your life:

How time blocks show up in your day

The current time block will show as a colored bar in your day view like this:

Scheduling tasks into your time blocks

Once you have your basic time blocking schedule you can take it a step further (depending on your workflow) and schedule specific tasks or time to work on specific projects into your time blocks.

To do this, turn on the time blocking sections strategy. 

This will automatically section your day view by the time blocks of your day. 

Each time block section has a name, the timeframe for this block and the total time. The total time is helpful when using it in combination with duration estimates so you can make sure you schedule the right amount.

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