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Workflow, Time Management and Productivity for Creatives

Lesson 7 of 9

Time Blocking: What it is and Why it Works

Lisa Congdon

Workflow, Time Management and Productivity for Creatives

Lisa Congdon

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Lesson Info

7. Time Blocking: What it is and Why it Works

Lesson Info

Time Blocking: What it is and Why it Works

You guys ready for time blocking? (laughing) Okay, I've been talking about it already, so, what is time blocking and why it's effective. So to do lists are great, but time blocking is gonna make them really practical for you. Time blocking works by blocking chunks of time in your day for at least 15 minutes and usually no more than two hours. I, two hours is actually a pretty long chunk of time, but some people have the brain bandwidth for it, to work without interruption on a specific project or task. Keywords, without interruption, on a specific project or task, 'kay. So there, that's loaded because that means you gotta put your phone away and all of that, and we're gonna talk about that shortly. But if you really want to be productive, that's what you gotta do. So, time blocking forces you to work on one thing at a time, intensively and without distraction. That might sound oppressive, but it's actually, like the amount that you can get done, if you find a quiet place to work for 15...

minutes to two hours, on something very specific, without checking your phone or talking to anyone, or checking your email, it's amazing what you can accomplish. Research continues to debunk the myth that you can productively do more than one task at a time. The human brain simply is not designed or wired to function in this way, and a lot of people will like say they're really good at multitasking, but it's, it's actually a myth, it's very very hard for the human brain to work on more than one thing at a time, and it takes us far longer to complete things, if we're constantly looking at Instagram or on our phone, or whatever. So part of productivity is blocking off time and giving yourself the solitude and space to get something done. Attempting to divide your focus increases stress and decreases performance. These chunks of time are often, or actually, I shouldn't say often, they should be interspersed with breaks for eating, walking, going to the bathroom, et cetera. So another thing we know is that taking breaks recharges you, gets you ready to transition to a new task, even if you're gonna go back and work on the same thing, a break will help you to stay fresh. How many times have we sat down to work on something, and we're actually so focused we don't take a break, but then at some point, right? You become so fatigued that you literally can't do it any longer, and you might actually have been more productive and gotten more done if you had only taken a break for 15 or 20 minutes maybe an hour earlier. I do that all the time, like I'm like, Oh I'll just take a break later. I'm so into this thing that I'm doing, and I don't wanna walk away from it. But breaks are so important. Capital T. For example, work on XYZ illustration project sketch for 45 minutes, 10 minute break, work on answering emails for 30 minutes, 5 minute break, et cetera. So why does time blocking work? Time blocking helps keep you focused on your projects by eliminating procrastination and multitasking. That requires you stick to the schedule that you set for yourself, and we'll talk about more of that in a second, and I'll give you some examples. It helps convert your to do list into action. You're not gonna just say you're gonna do it. You're gonna block time for it, and you're gonna do it, you're gonna start it. And you're gonna figure out the best way to start it, like the best, a little earlier we talked about backwards planning, like if a task feels to overwhelming, it's too big, then you gotta break it down into a smaller part. Forces you to the think about the time required to do the various kinds of work that you do, which can help in productivity and planning in the future. Okay? I have been time blocking since 2012, and I... It, when I first started I didn't really know sort of like optimally what was best for me in terms of time blocking, like how my, what my preferences were like, and now I know that. It also, well because I'm practiced at it, right? Like, I know how long things are gonna take me. I know what my bandwidth is, how long I can sit, when I need to take breaks. It also creates a record for how you spend your time. It gives peace of mind that you are touching and making progress on many projects over the course of the day. It helps with overwhelm by dividing your work day into manageable chunks instead of having to think about accomplishing one big project over the course of the day.

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers.

You have everything you need to create and implement effective, lasting organizational systems, whether you know it or not. As creatives we’re taught to believe this isn’t true.

Do any of these common myths about creatives sound familiar to you?

  • Creatives are inherently disorganized
  • They’ll never get a handle on their workload.
  • They lack the ability to create solid systems for getting things done.

These false ideas keep so many creatives from even trying to seek better workflows and organization systems, and ultimately bars the creative from doing better work. Not only that, believing these negative perceptions leave so many feeling stressed, scattered and unable to fully capitalize on their artistic strengths. It’s time to shatter these myths and learn to create the systems you need to to your best work as a creative.

Fine artist, illustrator and author Lisa Congdon has worked with over 75 clients around the world including MoMA, REI Co-op, Harvard University, Martha Stewart Living, Chronicle Books, and Random House Publishing, among many others. In this class she will teach you how to establish effective, workflows and time management strategies that will to streamline your processes and maximize creative work time. Lisa has spent years developing these systems. The monumental success of her career is proof these systems work. Join us.

In this class you will learn:

  • How to organize and implement a workflow system.
  • How to manage to-do lists effectively.
  • How to utilize time-blocking.
  • How to identify and manage the distractions that keep you from being productive.
  • And so much more…

Class Materials

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Ratings and Reviews

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Tessa Crowther

Overall, I'm super happy I took the course! As an entrepreneur, artist, and tiny business owner, it's nice to hear perspective from people who have gone through and are going through similar things. Be prepared for some slides to be read word for word (not my favorite thing), and for some thoughts to be a bit scattered and unorganized. However, I got some good information and will implement some of her ideas in my own time management. I paid for the class as a single class, so I'm not sure I'd recommend paying that full single price, but I would definitely recommend the class if you have a class pass! Overall, I would recommend, thanks Lisa!

a Creativelive Student

Thanks Lisa! Wow. I found this class very inspiring and exciting. Besides the logging and planning parts that really amuse me in general, I found the idea of setting boundaries and working while keeping distractions in check quite revolutionary. I can see how working focused on x thing for a period of time over several days can work wonders in completing projects. Super recommended.


I just love love love this system(s) AND the fact that Lisa explains them so clearly -and leaves the space to each of her students to "be creative" and adapt the system to your own way of working too. I found this course right on time in my life where i needed to clean out things, become more efficient and calmer too. I think Lisa's systems are indeed a perfect way to calm down any anxieties caused by too much / too few work, overwhelm and such... THANK YOU Lisa, merci beaucoup !