New productivity trends come along all the time, and most generate a lot of buzz and are gone again just as you are getting around to trying them. Time blocking is not one of those fleeting trends. The earliest record of using blocks of time to organize one’s daily tasks dates back to the 18th century. Here’s a fun fact: Benjamin Franklin was a well-known champion of time blocking. His many journals show that he scheduled everything from meals, meetings and important work to study, rest and time to reflect on his accomplishments and goals.

For time blocking to have persisted this long, there must be some legitimate benefit to be had. So what is it, and how can you harness it to help tame your busy modern schedule? Let’s dive in!

How does time blocking work?

The idea behind time blocking is to break away from the mindless multitasking that hinders true productivity and adopt a strategy of focused monotasking in its place. By being mindful about your daily schedule, you are better able to visualize what you need to do each day and set realistic expectations about what you can accomplish in that time.

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By dedicating specific blocks of time to individual tasks, especially creative tasks, you are reorienting your mind to see your creative work as a priority. This is particularly beneficial for media professionals and other creatives who often struggle to balance administrative demands with the need for creative flow.

Let’s look a little closer at exactly why time blocking can be the ultimate solution for media professionals.

The benefit of time blocking for media professionals

Implementing this method involves planning your time blocks by reviewing the scope and deliverables of your media production projects. It's about breaking down the tasks into manageable chunks and estimating how much time you will need to work on each portion. By blocking out those chunks of time on paper, you are better able to visualize what needs to be done, prioritize individual tasks and block out an appropriate amount of time that you will dedicate to uninterrupted focus on giving them the weight they deserve.

This is key because we are often conditioned to see administrative and technical tasks as “real work" and creative tasks as less important. This perspective is pervasive throughout the creative fields. It is not only detrimental to your well-being and your income, but it is also one of the root drivers of stress and burnout among media professionals.

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When implemented correctly, time blocking can help you break out of this ingrained mindset by teaching you to value your creative work as your top asset.

Why traditional time blocking can be challenging for creatives

Many time-blocking methods, like the Pomodoro Technique, emphasize short, structured intervals and frequent task switching. While effective for some, these methods can hinder the creative process, which often requires more flexibility and uninterrupted focus. Creativity can't be scheduled, and constant context-switching disrupts the flow of ideas.

This is no reason to give up on time-blocking. It just means that you need to choose the right time-blocking strategy for your unique work style.

Building a time-blocking strategy that works for media creation

To reap the benefits of time blocking without adding to your workload, you need to adopt a time blocking strategy that matches the type of work that you do. Flexibility is the key concept to remember. Go ahead and cross all the highly structured models and anything that involves a timer off your list. You are going to find that success is found in a custom tailored time blocking solution designed by you, for you.

Here are a few core elements to help you design a winning strategy:

  • Ditch the frequent context switching: For busy professionals in non-creative fields, frequent context switches can help boost productivity by keeping users mindful of spending excessive time on less valuable tasks. This does not work as well in the context of creative work. Media professionals and other creatives will find more value in a less rigid time-blocking system that creates time to relax in the creative process rather than focusing on time limits.
  • Make time for ideation and the creative process: Creativity isn't a switch you can turn on and off; it needs space to unfurl in its own time. Allow ample time for ideation without the pressure of immediate output. Consider setting aside an hour each day or a half-day per week devoted strictly to brainstorming and creative exploration. This may not directly produce content but it nurtures the concepts that will become your next big project.
  • Remember...flexibility is the key to success: While a strict schedule helps you stay on track, the unpredictable nature of creative work requires some fluidity. Build buffers into your schedule to account for overflows or spontaneous tasks that need attention. A block of 30 minutes in the morning and another in the afternoon will act as a safety net for catching up and getting back on track. Trust us on this one; you will be glad you did.
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