I am wondering if there is an easy way to add a block into the dashboard. I assume there is some kind of php command that I can add to a page I have overwritten to include a block I have already installed and have been able to use on the actual "website" page portion.
I'm not sure exactly, but I think dashboard pages can't be placed in edit mode so you wouldn't be able to place an area. That said you can do the old way via block name. These days you would pull it from a named stack like this.
First in the dashboard create a "stack" and name it something like "My Dashboard Page Stack" and then in the dashboard page "View" you would do something like.