Using Google Calendar to Block Schedule Your Life

using Google calendar to block schedule your life

 

About ten years ago I started color coding my planner. At the time my planner was a basic Day Runner type, just black and white with dates and times. Initially, I started doing this so that I could remind myself what I had scheduled with just a glance.

I have always had ADHD so simplicity was and is key.

Over time I noticed that the more detailed I was with “blocking out” my time in color, the easier it was for me to manage my time. I felt less overwhelmed and more in control.

Unfortunately after my son was born I fell off the wagon. Only in the last year did I start time blocking again. This time, I started blocking out my days using Google calendar. I chose Google because I felt it was important to have a shared calendar with my husband, so that we could remind each other of important dates, appointments etc.

Block scheduling is the easiest way to gain a sense of control over your time.

WTH is block scheduling?

Well, it depends on the context. In education it means that there are only 4ish blocks per day during which classes are taught. These blocks tend to be long, nearly 2 hours, so block scheduling can be torturous for a kid with ADHD.

You are basically asking students to sit in one spot for nearly 2 hours and take notes like an automaton.

When I was teaching this also meant I taught first block, third block and fourth block. 2nd block was to be used for planning, and meetings, and more meetings and trainings and more meetings…but I digress.

In the adult world I have my own version of block scheduling. It has helped me tremendously with my scheduling difficulties and time management. When I began color coding years ago I had no idea that I was time blocking, I just thought I was making my calendar more visually appealing.

Google calendar is free, and super easy to use. Even for me.

Using google calendar to block schedule your life

using google calendar to block schedule your life

Plan One Week at a Time

When you pull up your Google Calendar, or even your paper calendar, work with one week at a time. Don’t try to block out a whole month at once. Too overwhelming.

While setting up your Google calendar, use your paper calendar for reference so that you can add any appointments, meetings etc. to your Personal Time block on your calendar. If you need to, block out Planning Time on Saturday or Sunday of each week.

Keep it Simple

For example, when I block out my schedule I only have 4 categories/colors. The more categories and blocks I add the more confused I get. I go from calm to meltdown in about 10 seconds.

My categories include:

  • Personal Time – Hygiene, healthcare, exercise, health/wellness appointments, alone time, running errands and YOU time. Anything that is not work or family related.
  • Family Time – Parenting time, time with your spouse, time with extended family, obligations such as weddings, funerals, showers etc..
  • Work/Professional Time – hours spent in an office or work environment, OR daily tasks and chores if you work in the home or at home.
  • Rest Time – Sleeping. Yes I block out my sleep. It’s important to how our ADHD brains function.

How do you use Google Calendar?

Step-by-Step Instructions:

  1. If you do not already have a gmail account open one.
  2. Toward the top right hand corner, right next to your picture or avatar is a little box made of…more little boxes. Click on it.
  3. A bunch of icons will pop up. Click on Calendar. BOOM, you’re in.

Here is a handy dandy (and unedited) video of me showing you how I use Google Calendar to block schedule my life. I was not able to get my screenflow uploaded so I had to re-film using my phone.  You will notice right away I am holding the camera.

 

Use the Google reminders. Thank me later. http://wp.me/p60iCk-ko Click To Tweet

Google calendar is another tool in the arsenal for us to feel a sense of control over our time. Anything that is free and easy to use and still improves your life is worth looking into!

I also came up with a pdf to inspire you.  I write appointments and obligations in a paper calendar and then transfer them to my Google calendar.  Use this printable if you don’t have a paper planner to start with.

Anything else you want to know about time blocking?

Have you used block scheduling in the past?

What holds you back from time blocking to schedule your life?

 

 

 

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  • That’s funny, I use both a paper calendar and Google Calendar as well. Except I do it the other direction: everything is in my Google Calendar. Every Sunday (or Monday), I write the important stuff into my Bullet Journal. The tactile experience of writing out my week really helps me get a handle on my schedule.

    I used to do block scheduling in college, but found it impossible to keep up. I just ended up beating myself up over it.

    Now I’m starting to learn there are times of day when I do certain tasks better than others: writing after lunch, running in the morning, sort-of-mindless physical tasks in that yucky time between 2:30-5:00. Maybe that counts as blocking? But as soon as I try to say, “I’m going to write while my kid is at camp today,” that’s when I do anything but that. Grrrr.

    • Liz

      It’s funny that we do it in opposite order! I just started this Google calendar thing over the last couple months and it has really helped me. When I am having trouble getting started I set the timer on my phone! Start with 5 minutes and work my way up to like 45 minutes. Getting started is always the hardest part!

  • ResaMichelle

    I totally needed this! I’ve been struggling with streamlining & automation, and especially with giving my clients a clear “pick a time from my schedule for our next call” set of options. Thank you!

    • Liz

      Hey ResaMichelle-
      Thank you for reading and commenting.
      I would just block out a certain number of hours for client calls on the days of your choosing. I’d just call it “work time” or “client calls” and choose a color you like. So you have a visual to look at. Simpler is better! IMHO