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Time Blocking, Gantt Charts, for Construction

Time blocking is a principle that is as old as time—or at least as old as Benjamin Franklin who was known to be an early adopter of the practice. Franklin detailed the activities he would undertake every hour of the day, including rest and chores. This practice has reportedly been repeated today by people such as Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Cal Newport, just to name a few.

So, what exactly is time blocking and how might it be helpful in construction? The whole concept behind it is you give every hour of the day an activity. Time blockers, as Newport calls them, give every minute of a day a job. These individuals leverage a clear plan to minimize the urge to give into distractions. This can also enable a clear shutdown at the end of the day. It factors in time for work, time for rest, and time for play.

This is simply one strategy that I studied in depth for my new book, Becoming Resilient Parents, How to Thrive as a Caregiver with a Disabled Child. Others include prioritize your time and protect your time, as examined in the first blog in the series. In the coming weeks, we will also take a deeper dive into the state of time tracking and planning/scheduling for construction.

Certainly, different construction professionals have different levels of autonomy over their own time at work, as I mentioned in the first blog in this time-management series, but the concept has long been embraced in many facets of construction.

After all, scheduling with Gantt charts is basically time blocking to the extreme. Quite simply, being able to assess how long a project should take, determine the resources needed, and plan the order in which you will complete the tasks is often critical to ensuring a project is done on time and on budget.

But there is something I learned while researching time blocking for my book that is critical in parenting—and in construction. While time blocking can be a very good strategy for getting things done in today’s very distracted world, it is important to leave some open space—mainly because emergencies happen in both life and on the jobsite. Initially planning some open space in a schedule leaves room for the unexpected to happen.

Do you agree? Do you think schedules and plans need to be loose or rigid? What has been successful on your construction jobsite?

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