By: Alexis Gomez

It can be difficult to manage time effectively when trying to balance the duties of work and personal life all at the same time. However, setting a schedule and taking note of necessary tasks and obligations can help. While a to-do list can be useful at times, it can also be unstructured and daunting. Seeing a to-do list grow longer with more impending tasks can be overwhelming. Using other organizational techniques, like timeboxing, could be more effective.

Timeboxing is a technique that helps with time-management by allowing you to accomplish the most tasks while still being realistic about the amount of time you have in a day. According to Forbes, learning to prioritize and define how long to spend on each activity by consistently applying a system to allocate tasks into your daily schedule will hack your time-management skills. Timeboxing helps you establish what to do, when, and for how long. You can create a timeboxing schedule using these steps:

1. Make a list of everything you need to do (or will do) tomorrow.

This can be waking up, showering, eating breakfast, commuting to work, attending a meeting, working on a project, commuting home, eating dinner, watching a show, getting ready for bed, and anything else that is important that day. As you take inventory of what needs to get done, also estimate how much time each task will or should take.

2. Choose a system or software for timeboxing.

You can use Google Calendar, the calendar app on your phone, apps like Sunsama, or a good old pen and paper. The more visual the blocks of time, the more you can customize and color code to your liking!

3. Block the time on your calendar

Enter every event, task, and responsibility for the day in your calendar, according to the specific time you’ve allotted for it. Schedule each time block and treat them as if it were meeting.

4. Work following your timeboxed calendar.

Trust your initial planning and avoid changing it as much as possible. Try not to reschedule and honor the time commitment it represents. If each box were an important meeting, you likely wouldn’t reschedule unless it was absolutely necessary. Treat each time box as such.

Timeboxing can be useful for meeting important deadlines, staying within your guidelines, and managing your time better overall. It helps to space out large tasks, take into account small, but necessary routines, and allows you to get things done without wondering whether or not you actually have time for it.