Having trouble keeping track of your goals in the midst of your busy life? To-do lists give you a place to record what you want to get done, but they don’t always help you carve out time for those tasks, or plan what’s getting done when.
A calendar might be more helpful with figuring out timing. But you might not have room to write out a whole day’s worth of errands on a paper one, and digital calendars can be hard to read and edit. Tap or click here to learn tips for using Google Calendar.
Enter Hour Blocks, an app that allows you to plan out your day in hour-long chunks, and help meet long-term goals. Here’s why we love it, starting with the fact that it’s free!
Why we love this app
Hour Blocks is a free app currently only available in the App Store, sorry Android users! The app gives you 24 boxes representing each hour of the day, and you can fill in tasks or activities you want or need to complete at specific times.
This is a great way to lay out your day because it helps maximize your time. You’ll feel more driven to finish a task in an hour if you know not doing it will eat into the hour-long break you gave yourself afterward.
It also lets you take control of your long-term goals. Reading for an hour a day can help you finish a book. Writing for an hour a day can get you closer to finishing a story.
You can tap and drag blocks to move an activity to a different time, making editing and reprioritizing a breeze. If you have tasks input into the same time blocks across multiple days, like having lunch at 12 p.m., the app remembers and auto-fills that activity when you start typing in a title.
Hour Blocks also lets you add blocks for future events, like holiday plans, concerts and classes. You can see these events in a part of the app called “The Future,” and it can help you pre-plan those days and the days before it, so you aren’t overwhelmed.
The app is minimal and super user-friendly. Adding and editing blocks is very intuitive, and your days are laid out in a very visually-appealing way. With the ability to add cute icons to blocks, setting up your day in the morning becomes a pretty fun to do. Tap or click here to see if you’re a visual thinker.
The app also notifies you when it’s time for a new task, so you can easily move to your next activity without checking your watch. You get a nice payout for very little effort on your part.
If you invest in Hour Blocks Pro, you can add “Sub Blocks,” which allow you to break up your hour into different tasks. But we’ll get into the details of Hour Blocks Pro later.
How it stacks up against the competition
Hour Blocks is free, as is the Reminders app, which comes built in to iPhones. Reminders can notify you to complete a task at a particular time. But you have to set up that reminder manually, while Hour Blocks automatically notifies you when it’s time for your next block.
The iPhone Calendar app also comes built-in for free, and you can definitely create blocks in your day, add notifications and everything else Hour Blocks offers — it just requires a lot more setup and isn’t as visually appealing.
Editing and moving blocks in the Calendar app is also a lot harder than it is in Hour Blocks. It’s just not as easy to use as a day planner. Click here to learn about other organizing and planning apps.
Things to keep in mind
Hour Blocks has a few flaws you should be aware of before you download it. First, the fact that it’s only available on Apple devices is a bit of a bummer. It’s also not the best app for long-term future planning. You can organize the present day, and the next day hour by hour, but the app wasn’t meant to plan full months out.
Additionally, we have some problems with Hour Blocks Pro. The Pro version costs $4.95 a month, and it gets you unlimited sub-blocks. There aren’t other features, making it a pricey subscription.
Don’t get us wrong, being able to break up your hour into chunks allows you to enter minute tasks to help build toward completing bigger goals, and is incredibly useful. But it’s a shame it’s a feature you can only have unlimited access to if you pay for it on a monthly basis.
Overall, Hour Blocks is a great app for those first starting to use planners and planning apps. It’s also perfect if you just want to focus on each day as it comes, with minimal future planning.
For those looking for an advanced organizing tool, or sub-list features, you should look elsewhere. Tap or click here to learn about an advanced organizing app. But if you’re ready to start organizing your day, get started using it right away. Turn to Hour Blocks to guide you to your future plans and goals!