Reclaim Your Time with a Time-Box System
Time boxing is a planning tool that’s a cross between a calendar and a to-do list. It lets you divide your schedule into increments (half-hour or hour-long chunks) that you can slot tasks into and monitor. To set it up:
- Review your week. Take one day to plan for the week ahead. Inventory your deadlines, commitments, meetings, and so on.
- Prioritize what’s on the list. Put deadline-sensitive tasks first, goal-oriented tasks second, and then schedule these around any recurring obligations.
- Estimate time for tasks. Err on the side of caution when calculating how long each will take.
- Enter series of time boxes into your calendar. Designate a task for each time slot (“8 AM to 9 AM: Return phone calls and emails”), and keep a log of how long it actually took you. Later, review whether you allocated enough time by seeing what you were and weren’t able to finish.
*Credit HBR Tip of the Day