Study Hacks Blog

The Time Blocking Revolution Begins…

November 10th, 2020 · 33 comments

I’m excited to announce that my new Time-Block Planner is now available everywhere books are sold online.

I first described my time blocking practice on this blog back in 2013. The idea began to gain traction after I popularized it in my 2016 book, Deep Work. In the years since, it’s been featured in publications such as the New York Times, the New Yorker, Fast Company, Entrepreneur, and Lifehacker.

I often claim time blocking is the secret to my productivity. In my experience, time blockers accomplish roughly twice as much work per week as compared to those who use more reactive methods, and enjoy a much clearer separation between work and non-work time, significantly reducing professional stress and anxiety.

Now for the first time, this system has been captured in a daily planner that makes it easy for anyone to implement these ideas in their own professional life. (To learn more about the system and exactly how the planner works, check out the dedicated site I launched at TimeBlockPlanner.com.)

There are two reasons why I decided to publish my own planner:

  • The first was convenience. I was tired of hand-formatting blank notebooks. I was also frustrated by paper quality issues and the lack of page marker ribbons that help quickly identify the current page. This planner solves those problems, reducing the friction required to implement daily planning.
  • The second, and more important, was motivational. It’s one thing to read about a productivity system, but it’s another thing to actually invest in and own an artifact that’s dedicated to implementing that system. I want more people to time block. Buying this planner signals to yourself that you’re a time blocker. It’s also an attractive aesthetic object, with nice paper and detailing. It’s a pleasure to use, especially with a micro-ball liquid ink pen (like this one). These factors might sound small, but they make a big difference when it comes to the challenge of consistently overcoming your mental resistance to stay organized. I think of the planner like a gym membership or Peleton subscription for your time and attention.

To find our more about the planner check out the dedicated site. You can buy the planner at the standard places: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powells, Hudson Booksellers, Books-a-Million, etc., and for readers in the UK, it’s available at Amazon UK.

33 thoughts on “The Time Blocking Revolution Begins…

  1. Loukas says:

    Great news Cal. I can’t wait to receive mine!
    For anyone interested, I made a video about Cal’s planning workflow (Quarterly -> Weekly -> Daily), including his timeblocking approach using a planner. https://youtu.be/m74QSiOSFdw

  2. Melissa says:

    Excited to start using the planner that arrives today (advance ordered)! I teach high school seniors and to help prepare them for managing their life once they leave high school we go through planning strategies. Sticking with these new habits can be tough and being part of an accountability group really helps. Any chance there could be accountability groups set up for people who want to switch to time-block planning so we don’t quit after the novelty wears off?

    1. Nathaline says:

      I wish I had you as my high school teacher! We tend to overlook the importance of vital time management.

  3. MB says:

    This is a great. Can’t wait to get my planner. TimeBlockPlanner.com is really well designed. Clear and with the video, so easy to understand.

  4. Kenia says:

    I pre-ordered a while ago and mine has arrived! Very excited. Thanks for making these Cal!

    1. Rakesh Gupta says:

      Hi EA,

      How many weeks and days does it cover? How many pages are there in total?

      Regards,
      Rakesh

      1. Andrew Samtoy says:

        Thirteen weeks!

  5. Umar says:

    Got mine today! I’ve been using the Bullet Journal as my main system and curious on how migrating to this system will work. In the past, I’ve used pages in my Bullet Journal to create a time block grid and then use that as a focus point for the day. Curious if anyone else is moving to this from the Bullet Journal method and pros and cons of the two.

    1. Shilpa Reddy says:

      As someone who loves the Bujo/Happy Planner systems, I think that it is hard to switch, although very tempting. Let us know how it goes!! Post pics!

  6. Rost says:

    Why there’s no single photo of how it actually looks inside? Or did I just miss it?

    1. EA says:

      Check the “Look Inside” on Amazon

  7. Victor W. Lu says:

    I simply love the fact that the tool is not digital. A productivity system should be simple, not like all the apps we currently see to organize your day. People nowadays love to use shiny technology or methods when simpler, most efficient techniques exist. It is like when data scientists use Neural Networks when a simple Linear Regression give the same (or better) results.

  8. Michael says:

    I received mine Monday night. This is great!

    I used it Tuesday and I felt more focused during the day on working on what mattered, and more focused in the evening when focusing on my family.

    Yes, I did audibly say “Shutdown Complete.”

  9. Adrienne says:

    I’ve never been more excited to see an amazon delivery to my doorstep! Although I’ve been a time-block believer and practicer for years, I’ve long desired a more concise and aesthetic way to record and schedule my days. Thank you for the intention you put into this planner! Finally, a one-stop-shop non-digital answer.

  10. Nathaline Germain says:

    I just received mine today! I can’t wait to use it. Time is very precious, especially in medical school.

  11. Paul Freeman says:

    I got this email from Amazon this morning

    “Please be advised that we have a revised delivery date for the items you ordered on October 18 2020

    Newport, Cal “The Time-Block Planner: A Daily Method for Deep Work”
    Estimated arrival date: November 24 2020 – December 19 2020″

    So that’s a bit annoying – a) I’m near the very end of my current Journal so getting the Time Block Planner was going to be perfectly timed b) I won’t have the planner for the webinar

  12. Sherri says:

    I pre-ordered from Amazon UK and they’ve just told me the estimated delivery date is now 24th November – 19th December! I wonder if demand outstripped supply?

  13. Roberta Wallace says:

    Got my planner on Monday! Super excited for the webinar tomorrow. Does anyone know where I can find more information on the Capture, Configure, Control method Cal frequently references? I can’t find a specific book in which he goes into depth. Any leads appreciated 🙂

  14. Brendan Jones says:

    I was excited to getting my planner soon and for the live event, but now the release date here in Australia has been pushed back to 5th January!!!

  15. Matt says:

    Didn’t preorder but got mine from Amazon UK today.

    Any plans to be able to buy new planners at a discount?

    4 needed per year at £25 each is £100 per year. Pretty pricey.

  16. Folks you might want to read the Amazon reviews on this planner prior to purchasing it.

    1. Joe says:

      1. It’s got an average review of 4 out of 5 stars.
      2. You couldn’t figure out how to see the preview pages for weeks after everyone else had and seem to exist solely for the purpose of complaining about this planner.

      1. Joe you must be in a bad mood or have me confused with someone else. The written reviews on this are very helpful in pointing out details and quality issues that the marketing overlooks. I still may purchase one. The point is that people should read the review see the photos of the planner that are being uploaded with the reviews before they spend their money. Didn’t know being an educated consumer would offend you.

      2. Michael says:

        Suggesting we look at the reviews is good because we get an understanding of this from the daily use of a person. I know Cal uses this, but for someone who’s new to it, it’s helpful to understand the hardware side of this planner from someone other than him.

        That being said, as a big fan of Cal and his ideas, I need to give some constructive criticism.

        I think the premise of time blocking is really good, but I realized that there’s some issues with the actual planner itself. I checked it out in store and had to pass on buying. I think what he did here was good, but there’s some tweaks that I hope go into an updated version of this to really win me over with a phenomenal product.

        Just off the top of my head.

        Tweaks
        Spiral binding and hard cover so the pages can lay down.

        The cover is soft, and perpetually stays gapped open. Honestly, the quality of the planner doesn’t match up with the 25 dollar price tag. I believe a simple hard cover would change that. Also, a spiral binding also would help the planner’s efficiency because it could stay open to the actual pages you’re on.

        Ironically, and I maybe wrong, but I think the binding is known as perfect binding, but it’s not perfect at all because the pages can’t stay open.
        You have to press the binding really hard and risk damaging it( the current in store version).

        One selling point is the daily planner is off line, but at least with online apps like work flowy, I can keep it open to my daily tasks and plan. So changing this binding issue is a game changer for me.

        I can’t review this since I didn’t buy it. But, if you can get over these issues, I think you’d like it. But I’ll wait for a new version to come out that helps with these flaws.

        1. Shilpa Reddy says:

          I agree with spiral binding.

          https://www.erincondren.com/hexagon-lifeplanner?msclkid=c5ceb79a9600113e616ae82c3c365277&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=WP%20-%20Shopping%20-%20Brand&utm_term=4581183922169919&utm_content=All%20Products

          Most planners made for ladies have this included… you can charge more as well if the binding is more solid. The cover just has to stay hard cover like you mentioned and it would be great.

  17. Luke says:

    Does anyone know why on amazon it says it might take until Decrease 10th to be delivered to the UK? I pre-ordered the planner and am disappointed I might not be able to use it until a month after it comes out.

  18. Andrew Samtoy says:

    1) Is there a reason that it does not have room for non-work/leisure time?
    2) For v2, it would be helpful to have a ribbon to keep track of days.
    3) David Allen = Kanban, Cal Newport = Scrum.

    1. Michael says:

      I don’t get the comparisons. Can you explain for me?

  19. Shilpa Reddy says:

    Dear Dr. Newport,

    Congratulations on your new item. I have seen some people complain about the binding.

    A lot of planners use bindings like this which may be more user friendly and main stream.

    See things like Happy Planner or Erin Condren. Also, people like the paper quality, it does not bleed through (I use Happy Planner).

    I get that it looks less academic, but you can probably put more pages in and sell more copies in the long run!

    https://www.erincondren.com/hexagon-lifeplanner?msclkid=c5ceb79a9600113e616ae82c3c365277&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=WP%20-%20Shopping%20-%20Brand&utm_term=4581183922169919&utm_content=All%20Products

    If I didn’t already have a planner I would certainly be purchasing it!
    I’ll have to introduce the time block system into my planner to make the most of my days going forward.

  20. Andrew Samtoy says:

    Edit: three ribbons:
    1 – current week pages, to go back and see what the week plans were when planning days;
    2 – current day pages, for fast access;
    3 – next week pages, for adding things that come up but are not a priority for the week.

  21. Madeleine says:

    Hi Cal, I wonder if you can help me. I have followed your work for a couple of years and find your advice very useful, and it really helped me to focus on deep work. Before, I used to freeze at a difficult problem and put it off for as long as possible, or set impossible deadlines for myself. Your advice helped me tackle it and not worry about when I would solve a problem, just to keep track of the hours I spent doing so, and I noticed that chipping away at problems inevitably leads to solutions. However, I now have a different issue, and I would be interested to hear your take on it: I’m an illustrator, and focus on drawing for hours at a time, losing track of hours even with time blocking in place, leading me to constantly reevaluate my plans. I don’t use alarms because I don’t want to lose my steam or a train of thought. However, this can get unhealthy, and I end up eating lunch really late, let myself get dehydrated, or forget to exercise that day. My main problem I have is task switching. If I do manage to align my work with time blocking, I find moving onto another task is where I end up procrastinating, or taking up to 20 minutes to get started. I’m not sure why this is, when I seem to have enough focus during a task. I don’t know if you’ll have time to respond, but thanks in advance.

  22. Sherri says:

    Does anyone else in the UK have theirs yet? Mine doesn’t have a ribbon – I was wondering if it was a UK print run decision or I’ve just fallen unlucky with mine.

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