I struggle at times to keep focused when I am reading or studying. The little voice in my head chirps in with helpful suggestions of tasks I could be doing instead… The washing, preparing food, mowing lawns! As a result, the time studying, can often feel like I’ve ticked a box, but not really.
Recently I heard about time blocking and decided to give it a try. The idea is that you block off a period for a single task in a bid to avoid distractions, to be more focused and productive.
First I tried it with reading. I set my timer for an hour. When my mind chimed in with the usual helpful reminders, the washing needs hanging out or you should call Mary, I resisted the urge to pick up my phone or head for the laundry. I calmly reminded myself that the timer is set and I can relax knowing that when it goes off, I will be free to do those things then. For now… I read.
The experience of reading this way feels different.
The box, properly ticked.
Not gappy and fragmented like before.
Time blocking works for everything. I use it for disciplining myself to do the practice I distract myself from. A timer makes it doable (it’s not going to take all day!) It helps me to start.
And the actual practice ends up being of value and worthwhile because finally it is being done with focus and without [self]interruption.