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Best productivity planner (5-month review of Cal Newport’s time block planner)

Have you needed help sticking with any productivity system or planner you found? Because I have to, it’s something that I like to bounce around from thing to thing.

So I want to share it with you. It’s not my method or strategy. It is something that Cal Newport developed called the time-blocking system.

Why do I love this system?

1. You have the freedom to write and plan.


Your plans evolve and change. Thus this time-blocking system will help you become flexible because you don’t need to freak out if you are not on track with your original plans. You have curveballs thrown at you from the left and right you need to adapt and be okay with that. This will allow you to see the difference between your plan and how it went down.

2. You can see how much time you allot for your tasks and how much remaining time is available.

It allows you to track every single minute, especially when you are conscious of how long you are spending on everything, and this inspires me to create a digital version which is the Notion Template that I use when I am starting a task and want to develop a kind of timestamp (what are the task, the time when I created the job, and how much time I invested on a specific task).

3. It is accessible.

You can get the planner, but you can make his system in an old piece of paper or any journal. And that makes it highly accessible.

You don’t have to get this journal to do it…

Yes, you can use whatever piece of paper you have available. But for someone like me who makes endless to-do lists that are humanly impossible to finish in one day, this journal will let you see what you are doing instead of being disappointed.

You will be aware of where your time goes. Because you know where, what, and when you spend your time, and if it was worth it, you’ll be able to acknowledge and credit yourself for what you do. If not, you can identify if that needs to be avoided and stick to your plans.

Plan to get everything out of your head before the night ends, and you will be ahead the next day. This Cal Newport Time blocking planner is the answer to your needs. It is simple and structured and can give you a lot of customization.


What I don’t like about this planner?

I wish for this planner to be a little bit different about the binding and whatnot. It doesn’t stay open but rather it is flopping closed.


Notion Template and Cal Newport’s Time Blocking Planner are a Good Combination.

These two are perfect if you are not into writing and want to modernize. You can follow the template from your planner into your digital sheet to whatever version of your sheet that you want. As I said, the name of your task, the time invested and noted, and the time the job was created or initiated can be written down.

I can quickly glance if I have a very distracting day as it gives you accurate data. Instead of deleting a sheet, you can leave it there to identify that you attempted to start a particular task but didn’t initiate to do it.

 If I wanted to have that physical handwriting version and get away with the digital bullet lists and stuff I create, I could do it whenever I want. 

You don’t need to use the planner that Cal Newport has made. You can start by just doing this on an ordinary piece of paper. From there, you can notice a sense of relief in your brain and the weight that some of these tasks can have on you. 
You have that ability as this system allows you enough reflection so that you get to see how you’ll be spending your time. If it is worth it or not. What is making some tasks longer than I wanted to? And many more to ask, but your planner can answer.

Tracking your time is the best Return on investment because it’s FREE.

Your time is something you’re going to spend anyways, and we all have 24 hours we’re given at the beginning of each day, and we all have to pay it or be forced to; you don’t get to save that time in some way. We reset, and we have 24 hours to spend the next day.

You become aware of how and what your relationship is with time. And so how you plan and maneuver your to-do list and things like that is very personal.

I hope that this system will give you an idea to make more time and maximize it towards the stuff that you won’t be aware of where it’s going in the first place.

Understanding yourself and how you tick allows you to lean into it, sprint, and get ahead when you feel it. 

So I hope some of these strategies resonate with you. Make sure to email me at [email protected].