When you have lots to do, a good idea might be to use a calendar to help visualize your time.

“Great, now I can see all the time I actually have available to do things in!” we might say to ourselves.

The danger then becomes attempting to resist the urge to fill in the empty boxes.

“I’m doing nothing from 2:40 until 2:50, I’ll add another task there.”

This post is in defense of the empty boxes. Consider this:

#1 If it’s not a Priority, it’s a Distraction. Adding things to the day that didn’t need doing distracts you from doing the important work. The margin you could have had to prepare your mind to do your best work was shattered in exchange for what…checking your email again?

#2 What does [this] need from [me] [today]? This, Me and Today are the three things to pay attention to. Anything outside of these parameters does not belong in that calendar day, no matter how many empty boxes you have in the calendar. Why? See #1.

You do better work when you focus on what matters, instead of maximizing and optimizing your way to mediocrity.