Timeblocking: remote versus in-office
Office distractions can make timeblocking trickier. But it’s still possible to timeblock even when not working from home.
After two years of working fully remote (like much of the rest of the world), I recently returned to the office for a few weeks while in San Francisco for the Pioneer Summit.
Being back in an office is a nice change of pace. For one, I put on real pants and a clean shirt first thing in the morning. For another, incredible energy comes from working in the same room as other people doing cool stuff.
As a relatively new convert to timeblocking, I had never practiced the technique in an office setting. I never really considered how being in an office might impact my timeblocking until I arrived in San Francisco. While timeblocking is a critical tool for me in maintaining my productivity and focus every day, I’ve also had to alter how I approach it in an office environment slightly.
Why is timeblocking in an office different?
The primary difference comes from being surrounded by people, meaning more opportunities for distraction. More collaboration is excellent. But, it takes away time for deep work.
When distractions come right in the middle of a timeblock, you can’t always tell the person you are in flow. Or lunch might sound perfect right about then. So it can be challenging to stick to your regimented timeblocks.
How to accommodate office distractions while timeblocking
What has worked well for me over the past few weeks is to factor in distraction time into my day and ensure I move timeblocks around when I cannot complete them.
When I am doing my planning, I factor in an hour or two of distraction time. Therefore I make sure I timeblock about two hours less than I plan to be in the office. Then, when those distractions come up, I can move my timeblocks into the available gaps in time.
Timeblocking in an office still works
While timeblocking in an office setting has its challenges because of more distractions, it still is a powerful tool for focus. The key is factoring in time for those interruptions and being less regimented.