I think typography is more important than the amount of time you are giving to it. Typography is usually the very first thing I work on for a design – it has a great impact on the tone and feeling of the design.
Little boxes are fine – you’ll find them all over the place in great designs, but they are usually have a far lesser impact on the design. Take a look at this site, for example. There are boxes everywhere but they don’t feel like ‘boxes’ – they are functional and simply separate separate ideas of content.