Here's another very simple tool that will surprisingly make you more productive today. It's called Time Boxing. Checkout this 5min video where I explain the technique, or read the highlights below ( or just print this PDF to get started).
All you have to do is write down what you want to do today, estimate the time for each task, then block off time for that task. Although this is very simple, I find it's essential to my productivity.
You see, the moment you schedule your tasks, you transform them from an ephemeral wish list to a concrete action plan. You are at least twice as likely to accomplish your tasks when you have a concrete plan.
Benefits of Time Boxing
+ You get more done.
+ You feel better about yourself and your work.
+ You're less overwhelmed when you get tasks out of your brain and on to your plan.
+ Having a plan helps you overcome procrastination.
+ Small time investment for a big productivity boost.
Just try it! It only takes 10 minutes.
Here's How I Box with Time:
STEP 1: Write your list of tasks on the right
- It helps to use a separate running list of tasks, or your list from yesterday.
- Break large, complicated tasks into smaller sub-tasks.
STEP 2: Estimate how long each task will take
- Estimate in increments of 15 or 30 min.
- Put this estimate in the TIME column.
STEP 3: Choose your frog
- Choose the hardest, most overwhelming, most procrastinated task. That’s your frog.
- Write it at the top (this sets intention).
- Schedule it first in your day.
STEP 4: Schedule your tasks in order of importance
- Start with your appointments of course.
- Put a line in the STATUS column of your next hardest or most important task
- Box a time for that task in your schedule on the left (based on your time estimate)
- The least important tasks will naturally not make it into your plan for the day
STEP 5: EXECUTE!
- Wow! You now have a concrete plan for the day, full of getting important things done!
- Check off your tasks in the STATUS column as you go.
- To promote a positive mindset, start your day by writing down a few things you’re grateful for at the top of your plan.
- Treat your tasks like doctor’s appointments; show up to them on time and take them seriously.
- IMPORTANT: Don’t beat yourself up when your plan goes to crap! This will happen often. But you’ll still be more productive with a plan than without one. Just adjust the plan and keep going. When you find yourself way off track wasting time on social media, don’t beat yourself up, just say “Oops, this isn’t what I want to be doing right now, I’ll do this later” and get back to your schedule.
- Just get started. When you have an overwhelming task, it helps to schedule just 15 or 30 minutes to just get started working on it. Usually, once you start, you hit your stride and get a lot more done than you thought you would.
- Download the free Action Plan PDF
- Use it to write your task list for today
- Estimate the time required for each task
- Schedule your most important tasks on the left side