The Calculated Creative

6 Ways to Time Block Your Day (Staying Out of Creative Black Holes)

Falling into a black hole.

That’s what it feels like when we get consumed by a single creative project.

Losing all sense of time and responsibility for other tasks that need to be accomplished.

But there’s a way you can have your creative cake and eat it too.

Here’s 6 ways you can bucket your day to stay out of creative black holes:

1. Today

Have tasks that get repeated daily?

Set up specific times on your calendar for each depending on your energy level.

For me, I enjoy doing more broad picture thinking and strategy in the morning.

Leaving room for more simple executional tasks in the afternoon.

2. Self Care

Hyper-focusing on creative projects can mean that we often times forget to do something as simple as eating.

By noting key things like:
- Drink water
- Make lunch
- Go for a run
- Stretch

You can make sure that by the end of the day you didn’t prioritize work over necessary self care.

3. Boring But Necessary

Take out the trash.

Clean the dishes.

Do the laundry.


You hate it…but it needs to get done.

Try and get at least one of these done daily to keep the trash heaps at bay.

Hint* Creating a reward can help to give you a dopamine prize at the end of the tunnel.

4. Don’t Forget

You put it off last week because it wasn’t something that needed to get done immediately.

But now you have a whole list of things that just keeps getting put off.

Set aside some time each day to try and knock out one of these tasks.

It will keep you from losing track of tasks that tend to get pushed to the side.

5. People To Respond To

You’re getting bombarded by new projects.

Stuck in meetings.

And working right up until major deadlines.

What’s the first thing to go?

Maintaining personal relationships, unfortunately.

Set aside some time to connect with friends and loved ones!

The interpersonal relationships will help you de-stress from the day.

6. Leave it For Later

I really, really, really wanted to look for a new font.

Even though I didn’t NEED it.

This is an example of a to-do list item that can get pushed to a later date in favor of focusing on things that matter more in the current moment.

This list might get a little wild.

Be sure to purge as often as possible so you aren’t sitting on a massive anxiety inducing “why can’t I ever get to these things” notebook.

How this is relevant for a:

Freelancer — Stepping into various roles from designer to finance manager and everything in between can take its toll. Bucket your to-do list items and prioritize to make each day easier and more predictable.

Full-timer — Often time you have either a project management software, team member, or director keeping you on track. But you need to be able to curate your own priorities to make sure you’re balancing them against everyone else’s.

Dabbler — As you start to dig into more client work you can quickly become overwhelmed by approaching check-ins, deadlines, tweaks, meetings, etc. Having an ability to sort through these incoming black holes helps to keep you on track and moving forward efficiently.

If you do any sort of creative work you know how easy it can be to immerse yourself in a project only to forget about everything else.

From hygiene to doing the dishes and everything in between.

But using a time blocking strategy can help to:
- Decrease frustration around difficult to-do items
- Put more focus toward less stimulating tasks
- Flex your logical brain
- Build healthy habits

Make Your Work
Suck Less

Pulling back the curtain on the creative process to help make your work a little less terrible. A 3-minute read delivered each week on Monday morning.

The Calculated Creative

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