Time Management for this Voice Actor

by | Career Advice, Personal, Personal Development, Voiceover

Here we are- It’s March 1st already. And I’m thinking about time, mostly all the time. I also read an obituary in the paper for the man who performed a life-saving surgery on me nine years ago. So now more than ever I am sensing a whole new urgency to each day to get what I can from each day, not just merely get through the day.

 I’ve written in the past about the Pareto Principle when it comes to your top customer engagement over time.
The 80/20 law applies to time management too.  Only  20 percent of daily tasks are critical.  I  must admit I constantly need to avoid confusing activity of “doing just to be doing ” with true progress.
So I’ll look at my daily list and select the top three items I must accomplish that day. The rest must take a back seat to the daily plan.

I’d like to delegate or get an assistant. Since most of us voiceover artists work solo, there is nobody to assign work to. If possible, hire a cleaning service, or  an assistant to take care of data entry or filing to lighten the workload. I’m paying my daughter to help out with both.

With gas prices on the rise, I now drive now judiciously and route myself  on errands and appointments, and do make all my stops in one trip.

Make a list!
I look at mine daily. Some tasks are bigger, longer term projects that will take a chunk of time. Break the biggies into smaller bits and use a timer and dedicate a specific amount of time to it, say ten minutes  then work another ten if you want or need to, and another, and it might get done!  It’s called Parkinson’s Law. In other words, the work will fill into the time allowed for it. It’s a great way to eliminate inertia by defining a clear deadline for the task at hand.  And work on whatever is most urgent, first. I like to take on the biggest “hairiest bullfrog of all tasks” first!

To Multitask, or not? I’m now convinced multitasking erodes focus and doesn’t add efficiency.  I’ve read about a number of credible studies that say multitasking can actually impair our IQ. So focus and get more done, quickly.

Go for the golden time
I am clearly a morning person. My biorhythms are set to awaken my body around sunrise.  Generally I can sustain my energy pretty evenly throughout the work day, but truly feel my most productive hours are in the morning to early afternoon.  I feel I can best devote my concentration   In my own prime time window.  This is when I’ll schedule many of my recording sessions. And also shortly after lunch, because I can’t work when my stomach is growling. 

Rest and recover
When I have a lot of booth work, like long form narration or audiobooks, I’ll dedicate a maximum of 90 minutes at a time, broken into 30 minute intervals, in which I’ll get up and move my body, walk around the house or yard, grab some water and clear my head. At the end of that 90 minutes, I’ll stop that project and move on to something else, to get a mental break.  I find I truly need to recover, and turn off the computer, and read a book, exercise,  eat, or rest.  I am learning it’s not heroic or cool to have a relentless schedule, if I am left tired, stressed and getting run-down and have to crash.

At the end of the day, I’ll do what I’ll call “bookending”. I’ll revisit my daily task list, update it and add things that came in today that will be dealt with tomorrow.


  1. Simply terrific thoughts, Bobbin. I will be applying them to my rituals.

    As for multitasking, I never bought into the notion. If it were actually possible to give all of our attention to just two things simultaneously (let alone three or four) and accomplish twice the amount in the same amount of time with the same degree of quality, it would’ve been done long before we got here. While the efficiencies and ‘wow’ factor of our various digital devices made some of us think we were getting more done, the output may have increased, but the quality of the output is what suffers. To me, quality is better than quantity any day.

  2. Mike,
     I couldn’t agree with you more about how we’re grown so close to our mobile devices. I do believe they will eventually become the remote control of our lives in a very short time. The key  is balance. As far as multi-tasking, many times I feel like I’m juggling chainsaws. I’ve been a master of multi-tasking but it burns me out quickly. So I’m guilty as charged. But reforming. And feeling better and smarter as a result! Thanks for stopping by and adding your thoughts.


  3. Hi Eddie,
    I love your point of view and your humor. Can you write for me? Hah! Love this post, and how you’re adding some simple truths to the conversation.

  4. Hi Bobbin, thanks for explaining how you plan your time for long sessions in the booth. (I find it very hard to step away when the project is ongoing.) You’ve encouraged me to be more precise about timing breaks and knowing when to stop for the day. Pacing is such a challenge!

  5. Hey Jane,
    Yes I can relate. It’s so easy to lose track of time when you’re engrossed in the moment, especially when it comes to our craft. But now my low-back is happier (and so am I)when I set the timer on my iPhone for 30 minutes at a time. Then, it’s recess!

  6. Hi Bobbin,

    Many thanks for sharing this post–I’m always interested to hear about how others go about their business and give priority to their creative time. I can totally relate to your rhythms–by day, I’m a school teacher, and a VO at night–it’s a challenge! But, I agree, breaking up your time to stay fresh works for me much better than a marathon session.
    I really do appreciate your candor and collegiality, and enjoy reading your posts!

    Many Thanks,

    Dan Deslaurier

  7. Hiya Dan,
    Many thanks to you for adding to the conversation, and for the kind words.

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