gray fox on forest opening mouth while looking sideways at daytime 
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Time Blocking: The Experiment

Many of the great productivity experts have endorsed some variant or time-blocking or zero-based scheduling, or much milder versions it as advocated by Cal Newport as part of Deep Work or Power Hours by Gretchen Ruben. (Newport also endorses the full-on complete version.)

While there is evidence of this being used successfully in the Bronze Age, long before the advent of apps, the top Google hits I found were all about particular tools.

I have not had success with the mild version of it which entails simply marking times on my calendar as times for uninterrupted work. Calendly is good about not giving these times out; it is not a technology problem. It is something like a willpower or commitment problem in that I end up giving them out.

Whenever I see something framed as a willpower or commitment problem, I tend to think that there is a deeper simple problem that should instead be solved. I haven’t been able to find that deeper simpler problem and would be grateful to anyone who can point it out to me.

In the absence of a better plan, I am running an experiment in time blocking of not invading the time block unless an alternative block can be reserved for that same day with exceptions only for actual emergencies.

Today’s gratitude and baby animal picture go to Beka Buckley for suggesting this experiment.

Copies of the experimental protocol are available upon request.

Stay tuned for results.

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Written by Russell Brand

Russell has started three successful companies, one of which helped agencies of the federal government become very early adopters of open source software, long before that term was coined. His first project saved The American taxpayer 250 million dollars. In his work within federal agency, he was often called, “the arbiter of truth,” facilitating historically hostile groups and factions to effectively work together towards common goals


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