How to Stay Productive with Block Schedules

Blocks (explored) by Matthias Rhomberg

For the longest time, I found myself stuck in a bit of a quandary.

On one hand I really needed a schedule to keep me on track. Call it ADHD, general flightiness, whimsy capriciousness, whatever – if I didn’t have a schedule keeping me on track I would derail and do a thousand different things that weren’t actually the things I needed to do that day.

On the other hand when I created a rigid schedule for myself, like the kind that Caroline uses so well to keep herself on track, I chafed under its oppressive rule. It was nice to have something to keep me doing what I needed to be doing right then, but instinctive defiance of authority is a severe character flaw in me and it drove me mad.

So how do you compromise having enough structure to keep me on track but still allowing enough freedom to stop my instinctive rebelliousness from manifesting? Block scheduling.

Video Games, Process, & Success Dependence – How to Set Better Goals

Europa Univeralis IV Starting Screen

In general, people tend to fall into one of two categories in their approach to accomplishing a task. Either they’re result driven, or they’re process driven.

In my experience, of these two the process driven people tend to have more long term success when it comes to achieving the more difficult tasks. It seems to take far less willpower, or mental fortitude if you want to call it that, to tackle more difficult goals for those who are strongly process driven compared to those who are strongly result driven.

So how can we use that observation to help us set better goals, even if we naturally tend toward a result focus?

Conquering Your To-Do Lists Before They Conquer You

Compartmentalized Trays by Roo Reynolds

Caroline and I are both severe to-do list addicts (Caroline perhaps even a little more than me).

This can be both a blessing, and a curse. On one hand it makes it very easy to organize our tasks and have a good plan going forward for what we need to be working on. It gives a nice shape to conquering our goals, like a step-by-step quest list in a video game, and takes a lot of the uncertainty and nebulousness away from what we’re working on.

On the other hand, it provides an easy platform upon which to load so many tasks that we inevitably break under the pressure of all of it. After all we’re both very ambitious people – giving us a blank sheet to list everything we want to do is like setting us lose in an Indian buffet, we’re going to load our plates up like we haven’t eaten in weeks. As a result our to-do lists crush us and we wind up being even less productive than if we hadn’t bothered with them at all.

So what’s the trick to making effective to-do lists that help you get things done, but don’t grind you into the ground? Compartmentalization.

How You Can Help Us

Road to Epic on Patreon

We love writing for Road to Epic. We love seeing all your comments, and getting your e-mails, and knowing that we’re actually helping people to make their lives better. It is basically our dream job.

The thing is it takes a lot to support it. We put a lot of time and effort into the researching and writing of our articles. Add to that the cost of maintaining the servers, upgrades as the site grows, and all the other expenses that come along with running a website and things start to add up.

The last thing we want to do is put advertisements on the site in order to help defray the costs of keeping things running. We hate ads. I’m pretty sure nearly everyone hates ads. So instead, we’ve decided we would turn to the people who already love the site the most for support – our fans. You.

We’ve done that by joining Patreon.

GoBadass: A Guide to GoRuck, the Toughest Day of Your Life

Road to Epic GoRuck - Carrying a Telephone Pole around Cincinnati

If you’ve done obstacle course races you might have heard of GoRucks before, but if not then allow me to summarize it for you: it’s the most rewarding, tiring, mentally tough fitness-y “event” you’ll ever do.

It’s torture, but it’s so much fun. You may find yourself with your face nose-deep in a stranger’s rear-end, but by the end of the day you’ll be friends and comrades. You’ll be dirty, ache all over, and have sores on your feet, but a huge grin on your face. It’s hard but will teach you more about yourself in one day than you’ll learn in a year.

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