Time Blocking – The Admin Block

Over the past 2 years, I have gotten really into the concept of time blocking to stay focused and get things done.

One of my challenges though with my time blocking is finding space for my non-urgent tasks.

As much as I want to just to focus on my project list, the reality of my job is I still need to respond to emails, do paperwork, and other not so exciting tasks.

For a while I would just try and find blank spaces in my schedule to work on these things.

This didn’t work. I still found myself getting overwhelmed by these tasks and needed a change.

Enter the Admin Block.


In a recent episode of the Deep Questions podcast Cal Newport shared that he batches these non-urgent items into a block that he calls his admin block.

The idea behind the admin block is that you batch administrative tasks into a single time block on your calendar.

When it’s time for that block you focus on just checking these items off your to do list. Nothing else.

Intrigued by this idea I decided to give it a try.

The first thing I had to do was schedule my admin blocks.


Currently, I have two Admin Blocks set up in my Google Calendar.

To help make these blocks stand out in my calendar I decided to use the new Focus Time event type with the headphone icon.

Using Focus Time also ensures that nothing else will be scheduled on my calendar during this time since any invites that I get sent will be automatically denied.

To make these blocks stand out even more I also made them a color that I don’t use for any other event type on my calendar.

To help select a time for my blocks I also thought about my energy levels during the day.

I typically am super productive in the morning and then lose steam around 2pm.

Knowing this I decided to schedule my admin blocks on Tuesday and Thursday at 2:30pm.

Wait? You scheduled your admin blocks for when you lose steam?

Yup. I did.

Since my admin block tasks are mostly low in cognitive demand it made sense to schedule them for when I have the least amount of energy.

This has allowed me to schedule my blocks that require more of my focus for times when I am naturally more energetic. No need to waste my energy on low cognitive tasks.

So far my admin blocks have been helping.

I am feeling less stressed about getting non-urgent tasks done and has allowed me to better focus during my deep work time.

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