SCORE Small Business Blog

Business vs Personal: A Juggling Technique

Woman JugglingIt’s hard to build a business and have a life. You juggle the demands of your company and the needs your family. Your must-do and to-do and to-try lists get longer and longer. How do you make progress on all fronts?

Here’s my latest strategy: time boxing. I have been doing this for a while, but I just learned it had a name. Now I “box” time in more areas of my life.

Time boxing is simple. I take a task, for example, writing posts for this women’s blog, and say, OK, I will work on this from 9 to 10 today. Then I set a timer, yes, a kitchen timer, for 10 AM. It dings and I stop working. I tell myself I’ve made enough progress towards that task for today.

People are harder to “box” than projects. They aren’t there when you call or they need you longer than planned. But you can create a “time box” to start a business call or take your son to the zoo.

Women are socialized to be “givers” and we have trouble feeling we have done enough. “Time boxing” gives you permission to stop and to feel good about what you have accomplished.

Why not try to “time box” and report back with a post?

Peg Corwin, SCORE Chicago
More posts by Peg

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Discussion (5) Comment

  1. Carol,

    I really agree with you about phones. I work at home and my husband complains that I don’t want him to interrupt, but I will still probably answer the phone. We all have a phone reflex. Turning off the phone after hours is an excellent way to manage this. Thanks for sharing this suggestion. Peg

  2. Carol ArmitageVisitor

    I have a home based business wtih separate phone line for the busness, but I find one of the hardest things is not automatically picking up the phone when it rings. And it rings day and night. By turning off the ringer during hours I am supposed to be “closed” I don’t think about it – but if I forget, it’s difficult for my hand not to shoot out and pick it up if I’m near the phone and it rings!

  3. Jennifer GetzVisitor

    Another aspect of time management is delegation. Always ask yourself, “is this the best way we could be doing things?” I mention this because I just saw a great short on the subject:

  4. Thanks for sharing this downfall, Samantha. I think that’s a real benefit of the timer — Its “ding” reminds you about the limits.

    I looked at your blog and suggest you add a link to your business in the area called blogroll. Then people can click over to it. I can make other blog suggestions if you’d like, as I am familiar with Blogger. If you’re interested, email me at

  5. SamanthaVisitor

    I think this is a fabulous blog! I am always looking for new tips when it comes to my business. I actually just started a blog myself… . I will definitely be checking back here often.
    I love the ‘time box’ idea and try to use it in my business and my life with 3 young children. My downfall is that I don’t always keep that appointment with myself, as I am too flexible and think I can just do it at a later time. I’ll need to try to be more strict! Thanks so much again! Samantha


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