Time-boxing is one of the most effective ways to improve your productivity. It’s simple: assign a fixed period of time to a task, schedule it and stick to it. It works because it touches on so many aspects of behavior: single-tasking and focus to achieve more and feel less stressed, prioritizing work to observe deadlines, frequent feelings of accomplishment, and being transparent so people can see what you’re doing and help. The tricky part is grouping the tasks and estimating how long they’ll take, but this skill improves rapidly with practice. The key to this is time-boxing into a shared calendar and taking commutes, meetings and other commitments into account. Read More

Accidental Creative podcast, author Todd Henry shares a simple 10-minute method you can use to optimize your schedule and create mental bandwidth for deep, creative work.

How to Schedule Your Day

Beginning of Your Day (5 minutes) Plan. Before turning on your computer, sit down with a blank piece of paper and decide what will make this day highly successful. What can you realistically accomplish that will further your goals and allow you to leave at the end of the day feeling like you’ve been productive and successful? Write those things down.

Take your calendar and schedule those things into time slots, placing the hardest and most important items at the beginning of the day. If your entire list does not fit into your calendar, reprioritize your list. There is tremendous power in deciding when and where you are going to do something.

Once an Hour (1 minute every few hours) Refocus. Check your list or your calendar every hour and ask yourself if you spent your last hour productively. Recommit to how you are going to use the next hour. Manage your day, don’t let your day manage you.

End of Your Day (5 minutes) Review. Shut off your computer and review your day. What worked? Where did you focus? Where did you get distracted? What did you learn that will help you be more productive tomorrow?