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Episode 143 | THE SECRET OF TIME BLOCKING


This episode is sponsored by Katy Jordan

A 40-hour time-blocked work week, I estimate, produces the same amount of output as a 60+ hour work week pursued without structure. Cal Newport, Author of Deep Work

In last week's show, I asked you to consider whether or not you had become someone else’s “useful idiot” a term christened to describe anyone that spends their own time, money, focus, energy, contacts, or whatever, to better someone else’s position whilst at the same time damaging or undermining your own. It’s another important episode so if you missed it, it’s not a long one, go back and check it out.


While some attribute Elon Musk's remarkable ability to maintain focus without distractions to his exceptional level of genius, there is a more compelling explanation for his effective time management: time blocking.


Time blocking is a productivity technique that involves scheduling specific time blocks for different activities or tasks throughout your day. By dedicating focused periods of time to specific activities, you can enhance your efficiency, prioritize important tasks, and minimize distractions. And Elon isn’t the only multi-billionaire who uses this system - according to an article in The Telegraph, Bill Gates breaks down tasks in small chunks too. Whereas I wouldn’t necessarily recommend doing the same, he schedules every five minutes of his day to this time management technique. Scratch a little deeper and you’ll discover that he learned about this from Warren Buffet. Don’t dismiss this technique because of the names I’m dropping here. This is serious stuff for any productivity-ist who wants to get stuff done. Let me give you a couple of examples.


Let's say you're a freelance writer with multiple client projects to manage. You can use time blocking to allocate specific time slots for different tasks. For instance, you may reserve the mornings for research and outlining the afternoons for writing and editing, and a dedicated block for client communication and administrative work. By consciously setting aside dedicated time for each aspect of your work, you can maintain focus, avoid multitasking, and complete tasks more efficiently.


And If you want to improve your personal productivity, you can use time blocking to structure your day. For example, you could allocate a block in the morning for exercise and self-care, followed by focused work blocks for specific projects or goals. You may include breaks or relaxation time between blocks to recharge. By mapping out your day and assigning time blocks to different activities, you will find it much easier to prioritize important tasks, reduce distractions, and make the most of your time.

Stephen Covey author of The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People says about time blocking that "The key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities."

He emphasizes the importance of scheduling your priorities rather than letting your schedule dictate your priorities. Time blocking allows you to allocate specific time slots for your most important tasks, ensuring that they receive the attention they deserve.


Time blocking puts you in the driver's seat, allowing you to proactively structure your day and make the most of the time you have.


"Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else." Peter Drucker

This quote emphasizes the fundamental role of time management in overall effectiveness. Time blocking provides a framework for managing your time effectively by providing structure and clarity to your daily schedule. Even today I have floundered somewhat in deciding where I should focus my time and my efforts and it was not easy to get myself together. It’s been said that "What gets scheduled gets done." And I find this to be very true because if you assign specific time blocks to tasks, you increase the likelihood of completing them because they are given dedicated time and attention.


Cal Newport writes in Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, that Time blocking is about being intentional with your time rather than reactive.

Yes - Instead of reacting to incoming requests or distractions, time blocking allows you to be intentional and focused on the tasks at hand, enabling you to work more efficiently.


I could go on all day with quotes and examples, but I think you are beginning to get it. Here are some simple ways to apply time blocking to your life and work:


  • Identify Priorities: Start by identifying your top priorities, both in your personal life and work. Determine the tasks or activities that are most important and require dedicated focus.

  • Set Time Blocks: Allocate specific time blocks for each priority. For example, you might reserve a block in the morning for important work tasks, another block in the afternoon for personal errands or self-care, and an evening block for leisure activities.

  • Be Realistic: Ensure that your time blocks are realistic and achievable. Consider your energy levels and the time required for each task. Avoid overloading your schedule and allow for breaks or buffer time between blocks.

  • Eliminate Distractions: During each time block, eliminate distractions as much as possible. Turn off notifications on your phone, close unnecessary tabs on your computer, and create a focused environment that promotes productivity.

  • Stick to the Schedule: Once you've set your time blocks, commit to following them. Treat them as important appointments with yourself and avoid unnecessary deviations. This helps maintain discipline and consistency.

  • Evaluate and Adjust: Regularly evaluate how your time-blocking system is working for you. Assess whether certain blocks need more or less time, and make adjustments accordingly. Adapt the schedule as needed to ensure it aligns with your evolving priorities and responsibilities.


And remember, the key to effective time blocking is to create a structured routine that supports your goals and helps you manage your time more efficiently. By dedicating specific time blocks to different tasks and activities, you can enhance focus, prioritize effectively, and make steady progress toward your objectives.


The true power of time blocking lies in customizing it to suit your own preferences and work style. Experiment with different time block durations, adapt it to your specific needs and fine-tune your approach over time to optimize your productivity.


Next time:


So, we’ve passed the midpoint of season 11 and I think it’s going rather well. Someone did ask about sponsoring episodes on social media recently, and I am not putting this season out for sponsors or an exec producer. The reason for this is not that I can't get sponsors, I can, but that because my short film is not complete, and I’d asked for sponsors on that one, I am uncomfortable seeking more money through crowdfunding until I have delivered on the last project. It’s as simple as that.


If you are enjoying the show, please engage with me on social media. If you love the show, please screen grab your phone as you listen and post it with a link to subscribe on social media if you can as that’s a great help.


In next week's show I’ll be talking about the problem-solving principle of Occam’s Razor so tune in for that one at, the same time next week.


In the meantime, let me end with some words from William Penn who said Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.



Now take control of your own destiny, keep on shootin’ and join me next time on FILM PRO PRODUCTIVITY AND SUCCESS!


• The music you can hear right now is Adventures by A Himitsu

• You can view the show notes for this episode on the official website filmproproductivity.com

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SPONSOR: Katy Jordan


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