Home Print and Pattern The Magic of Time Blocking for Artists

The Magic of Time Blocking for Artists


Once I began freelance illustrating, I used to be overwhelmed with all of the issues I wanted to do. The to-do record simply stored rising and the variety of completely different duties on there was overwhelming. I used to be setting not possible every day targets and ended up disappointing myself after I couldn’t meet them. On prime of that, there was no time left for private tasks. How do you utilize your time successfully as an artist? And the way do we discover the time for self-initiated work and creativity? I discovered a method to make it work for me by time blocking my schedule. 

The Magic of Time Blocking for Artists | Sketch Design Repeat

What Is Time Blocking?

Time blocking means dividing your day into blocks of time. Every block is devoted to conducting a job, or group of duties, from 5 minutes to some hours at a time. As a substitute of holding a to-do record of stuff you’ll get to as you’re ready, you’ll begin every day with a schedule that lays out what you’ll work on and when. So how does time blocking enable you to as an artist?

The Magic of Time Blocking for Artists | Sketch Design Repeat

Managing Your Time VS. The To-Do Record

Time administration is the flexibility to make use of your time successfully or productively. Working with a time administration system (like time blocking) means it’s a lot simpler to set life like expectations for your self. It requires perception to acknowledge which tasks are finest achieved when, and anticipate how lengthy duties take you. In case you manage your duties nicely, it’ll appear to be you’ve gotten extra time in your day, since you are utilizing your restricted hours extra successfully. That is important if you’re working for your self since you’re accountable for your hours and must plan continuously. The extra you get to know what works finest for you, the better it’ll be to schedule your duties nicely. 

Setting Practical Targets

As somebody who usually believes a day consists of 36 hours, I set too many expectations for what I can get achieved in a day. I would like a reminder that doing as many duties as doable back-to-back isn’t a wholesome method to hold working. Practising time blocking helps me to be life like about my targets and serves as a reminder about what I can get achieved. 

The Magic of Time Blocking for Artists | Sketch Design Repeat

When you determine how a lot you’ll be able to productively do in a day, it’s also possible to create house and schedule breaks. With a unending to-do record, it’s straightforward to get caught in a loop of regularly attempting to tick issues off the record with out taking enough breaks. Once you monitor your time and schedule these breaks, you’ll be far much less prone to exhaust your self. You now not have to seek out small pockets of time wherever you’ll be able to. As a substitute, your schedule will let you know when to step away out of your work and when to point out up. Plus, when you have time left after a job; reward your self by doing nothing. You’ve achieved the duty extra effectively than you anticipated, so take a break! Rewarding your self is far more efficient than punishing your self by taking over much more work. 

Motivating Your self

Individuals usually make the error of considering you should be in a ‘inventive circulate’ to make new issues or begin a mission, and discover it tough to start out once they aren’t feeling motivated. However scheduling a job for a sure block of time and simply exhibiting up is one of the best factor you are able to do to fight procrastinating. Simply present up and begin, whether or not you’re feeling up for the duty or not. Most probably you’ll discover that when you begin it’s simpler to maintain going. Usually, motivation comes after you begin, not earlier than. 

Setting a time for one thing additionally instills a way of urgency. Slightly than feeling like you’ve gotten a number of time, you realize it’s restricted and there can’t be any distractions. You need to use that block to make as a lot progress on that job as doable. As soon as that point is over, you must step away and take a break (that is exactly why the ‘Pomodoro approach’ works so nicely for therefore many individuals). 

The Magic of Time Blocking for Artists | Sketch Design Repeat

Limiting Your Selections

If it’s overwhelming to start out on a giant job, it helps to simplify your path. Usually, we have to set limitations to have the ability to get began and suppose creatively. As a substitute of an extended to-do record, restrict the alternatives you give your self. For instance, promise your self to work on it for simply 10 minutes at this time. Schedule that every day and simply hold exhibiting up. Though you’re solely doing it for 10 minutes, you’re changing into the kind of one who is doing this job on daily basis. You’re creating consistency, day after day. The one factor you should grasp is exhibiting up, and hold doing so. 

This consistency is step one to constructing new habits that may grow to be a part of your routine by blocking these duties into your calendar. You need to begin someplace, however beginning small is less complicated. After getting established this behavior, you’ll be able to flip these 10 minutes into 20 minutes, or 2 hours. By constantly exhibiting up you’re constructing momentum, which is extremely highly effective. As artists, we regularly simply want to start out on a creation course of fairly than await inspiration to kick in. Only a few minutes a day of doing a job is much superior to enthusiastic about doing it.

Associated Article: Make Your Design Time Extra Productive

Time Blocking Your Schedule

Now that we’ve been over all some great benefits of time blocking, let’s put this into motion:

Step 1: Record Your Duties

Write down a listing of every little thing you want and wish to get achieved in the course of the week. (I prefer to evaluate my schedule weekly, however be happy to make this a every day schedule!) That is our to-do record. Begin with what’s most necessary or urgent: conferences, tough and pressing duties, deadlines, and many others. My weeks usually comprise the identical sort of duties or issues that must be achieved, so I like to mix a number of duties into teams. Every part that must be achieved will match into certainly one of these classes. An instance of recurring duties in per week:

  • Shopper work
  • Modifying
  • Studio work 
  • Advertising
  • Writing
  • Admin
Step 2: Timing

Subsequent, estimate how lengthy every of those duties will take (in my case, weekly):

  • Shopper work – 14h
  • Modifying – 7h
  • Studio work – 6h
  • Advertising – 3h
  • Writing – 3h
  • Admin – 5h

It’s utterly regular to not know precisely how lengthy these duties will take. The extra you apply time blocking, the extra assured you’ll really feel in estimating and scheduling duties.

Step 3: Blocking

Subsequent, we have to schedule all of these duties as if they’re appointments with a transparent begin and finish time, and put this right into a calendar (I like utilizing Google Calendar, however it’s also possible to use a time administration app or bodily journal). Classes of duties could be chopped up into smaller blocks in the course of the week. How lengthy these blocks final is as much as you and is dependent upon how lengthy you suppose you could be productive. Discover out what works finest for you; pay attention to your best occasions of the day, and know when you should take breaks:


  • 9AM – 10AM: Admin
  • 10AM – 11AM: Advertising
  • 11AM – 1 PM: Writing 
  • 1PM – 2PM: Lunch
  • 2PM – 3PM: Assembly 
  • 4PM – 6PM: Shopper work 
Step 4: Following By

Observe your time-blocking schedule by checking in every day. Use a timer if want be, to ensure you follow your schedule. Life doesn’t at all times go in response to plan, so if one thing doesn’t work, be able to make modifications. Each month, I prefer to revise my calendar and duties and see what labored, and what didn’t, and modify the place essential.

A Few Extra Ideas for Time Blocking

  • Don’t decide your self or maintain your self to unreasonable requirements. There’s solely a lot you are able to do in a day! The purpose of time blocking is to set life like expectations for ourselves.
  • Multitasking generally feels productive, however you get much less achieved on every mission than if you happen to had targeted on only one factor, and also you’re much less prone to make errors. Dedicate your block of time to only that one exercise. 
  • Don’t underestimate the momentum and the boldness enhance you will get from a few fast wins. Batch a number of smaller duties into one block of time in the beginning of the day which might be straightforward to do (ship emails, verify messages, do chores) to start out the day proper. 

All of us have the identical variety of hours within the day, however how we make these work finest for our schedule and our creativity is one thing that takes time to determine. Time blocking will enable you to enhance your productiveness and effectivity, and enable you to construct a routine that works for you. Adapt your schedule to your wants so you’ll be able to focus in your creativity. 

Surface designer Claire van Kuijck
Written by Claire van Kuijck

Web site: clairemakesthings.es
Instagram: @claire.makesthings

Claire, of Claire Makes Issues, is an illustrator and trainer from the Netherlands, primarily based in Madrid, Spain. She creates murals, chalkboard designs, greeting card designs and extra, and teaches illustration and graphic design. She loves all issues retro, cocktails, and using her motorcycle.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here