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Always Running Out Of Time?
Try 'Time Blocking' To Get More Done

By John Melley
Voice Talent & Coach

Ever have a day where you get to about 3 p.m. and realize you haven't accomplished anywhere near what you had planned to? We've all had days where we wonder where the time went.

One trick to getting more done during the day is to use Time Blocking during your day.

The power behind Time Blocking is that you set a start and (more importantly) an END time for your task(s).


So let's say you have an editing project that needs to get finished, a voice session, some follow up calls, paperwork, emails to send, meet with a client.

Block out the start and end for each task, being realistic about what time it will take to get each task accomplished. This is key.

To Do
lists can leave you frustrated in that you look at it and feel like you didn't get everything on it crossed off. Time blocking will help you with your workload and help you make decisions on what you take on.


Here's an example: (Your results may vary)
  • 6:00 a.m. - Wake Up
  • 6:15 - 7:00 - Prepare breakfast
  • 7:00 - 7:20 - Shower/Prep for Day
  • 7:20 - 7:30 - Get dressed
  • 7:35 - 8:00 - Travel to Studio
  • 8:00 - 8:10 -Set up
  • 8:10 - 8:40 - Editing
  • 8:40 - 8:50 - Break
  • 8:50 - 9:20 - Editing
  • 9:20 - 9:30 - Break
  • 9:30 - 10:00 - Editing
  • 10:00 - 10:10 - Break
  • 10:10 - 10:30 - Review script for recording session
  • 10:30 - 11:15 - Recording Session
  • 11:15 - 11:30 - Break
  • 11:30 - 12:00 p.m. - Email
The rest of day can be blocked out from there.


Two things you may have noticed in this schedule: I set up breaks every half hour.

You'll be amazed how much you can accomplish in 30 minutes with no distractions.

Then I take a break. Get up and walk around. You need to do this because you'll be more productive during those 30 minute work periods.


When I say "No distractions" I mean NO distractions. Phone, voicemail, email, Twitter, Facebook, Internet - all off.

Notice I put email in the middle of the day.

The key to accomplishing more is working on YOUR agenda and task list.

When you start your day looking at email, you start responding to other people's requests. You're working on THEIR agenda - not yours.

Very little is so Earth Shattering in email that it can't wait until noon to get back to people. I've found that most questions/requests typically resolve themselves by the time I get to look at the email thread of messages, and I've saved myself the time of sorting through the "Half-assed" communication that takes place in most email.


This one tip - email at noon - has been one of the KEY productivity techniques that I have used over the last few years that has helped me manage my time more effectively.

If you try nothing else, try this one for a week and notice the difference!

What time management tips and strategies do you employ? I'd love to hear them. I'm always looking for good ideas.
John Melley is the Commercial Production Director for CBS Radio Boston’s award-winning Mix 104.1 (WBMX), and a nationally recognized voice over talent, having performed voice over for Irving Oil, Hewlett Packard, United Technologies Corporation and countless others. He is also a marketing consultant for business owners, specializing in coaching voice talent to grow their businesses, and recently began The Voice Over Marketing Podcast, which focuses on marketing and business tips (see link below). He believes a rising tide lifts all ships and helping other voice talent benefits the entire voice over profession.


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Comments (5)
John Melley
3/28/2013 at 11:08 AM
Thanks Everyone for your great feedback and other ideas!

More to Come!

3/27/2013 at 11:28 PM
Thank you so much, John. I have tried this in the past and it really does work. However, I let myself get complacent and a bit lazy with the rigid schedule and lo and behold, my productivity went down the pan! I work better when I have a deadline to meet and I'm under pressure. So, giving myself mini deadlines throughout the day works. I will get back into the groove and see my productivity rise once again.

Thanks again
Bobbin Beam
3/27/2013 at 3:12 PM
Hi John,
Great article! So true about email. Don't make your day about someone else's agenda. And spending time and taking time for priority items is essential. We have so many distractions that it's critical to FOCUS! It's also equally important to have some flexibility in our schedules to accommodate RUSH additions and last minute jobs, especially those that come through our agents. I'll also take my breaks each 30 minutes to check in on those opportunities, responding in a timely manner. Everyone's happy, and that's a good thing!
Elizabeth Holmes
3/27/2013 at 12:26 PM
John --

Thank you for this system! It's not sexy, but it REALLY works.

Equally eye-opening is keeping a time log for a week. It's important to know where our time actually goes. (Our productivity depends on it.)
Johnny George
3/27/2013 at 12:01 PM
John - You are SPOT ON. Very good advice and a system I have used, but have not mastered as well as I should.

Being a full-time voice actor can bring many more client-specific duties and deadlines that I didn't have to plan for in radio when I was in the trenches. As a full-time voice guy, we have to be even more disciplined due to home distractions, and your BLOCKING concept is a very good place to start and we should build it to fit our unique schedules.

Thanks for the mind-check.

Johnny George
voice actor / producer
Johnny George Communications, Inc.
tel: 317.577.4664 | cell: 317.946.0048

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