The One Secret to Overcoming Procrastination

Have plenty to do and lots of time but can’t get started? Don’t fall into a procrastination panic – Time Boxing may be the solution for you.

the barefoot executive

Time Boxing is one of the most reliable time management methods I know, and it’s a sure cure for the evil procrastination. It consists of you scheduling your tasks in fixed time segments – or boxes – as opposed to working until you’re done. 

Time Boxing dictates what we should be doing and when, and it reduces the intimidation factor of having large projects and open spaces of time.

For example, I have a presentation project that needs to get done this week, so here’s how I would use Time Boxing to get it done:

  • First, I break the project down into actionable steps, the first being “create a presentation outline”
  • Next, I set aside 45 minutes to complete this task: 11-11:45am today.
  • Now, I write this into my day planner schedule, or create an appointment in Outlook
  • Also, I create a similar box of time from 2-2:45pm today to complete the next task “research 2009 statistics for presentation,” and another one for the next task tomorrow
  • When it’s time to do the task, I focus on my work without distraction until the time is up.
  • Finally, I create other boxes of time for other tasks and routine activities throughout my day, including lunch.

As mentioned, you can create your time boxes in your day planner, on Outlook, or you can set a simple egg timer on your desk and work until it rings.

The one clear-cut benefit to Time Boxing is that it creates structure with your time. It defines when to begin a task and when to move on to something else. That established timeframe provides an appealing set of instructions in your mind — it’s sure to get you on your way to a productive day.

Give Time Boxing a try and tell me what you think. Have you used it? Please share your thoughts in our comments section.

Jeff Doubek


Day-Timer Spokesperson Jeff Doubek can be reached at