WHAT IS TIMEBOXING METHOD?
Usually, people approach their work one task at a time and focus on each until they complete it however long it takes. On the other hand, there is a method called timeboxing which encourages you to focus on time instead of tasks. Timeboxing is simple, what you do is you allocate a certain number of hours or days, called “timebox”, on each task you have. You can only use the time you allotted to complete the task. Timeboxing is effective because it promotes productivity as this method lets you understand that if you don’t finish the task at the allotted time, it will affect everything else on your to-do list. Consequences include, not having enough time to do other tasks or putting off tasks until the next day. Both will leave you with a huge pile of tasks and no time to do other things that you wanted to do. Timeboxing will ensure that you can finish multiple tasks throughout your day and will prevent you from spending too much time on one task.
HOW TO USE TIMEBOXING METHOD TO SCHEDULE YOUR DAY
- Estimate how long each task on your to-do list should take to complete. Allocate a fixed amount of time for each one. Include breaks and contingency time for unexpected requests or interruptions.
- Choose a length of time that works for you. You can try the pomodoro technique, it is a form of timeboxing method where you allow yourself to work for 25 minutes followed by a short break. You will be tempted to just continue working after the 25 minutes allotted time but you might want to avoid that. The purpose of the breaks is to give your enthusiasm and return to working with more energy.
- Set a timer. You can use your phone or computer. Even better if you have a smartwatch so that you’re not tempted to use your phone to avoid distraction.
- Assess and take note of results for adjustments so that you can have a more optimized schedule
If you don’t finish your task within the allocated time, you will be tempted to continue it until you finish it. You can allow this to happen a few times but do take note of it. Remember that that particular task takes this much time to complete so that if you have to do it again you allow yourself the right amount of time.
ADVANTAGES OF TIMEBOXING METHOD
You’ll work on unpleasant tasks. There are just some tasks you can’t make yourself go through with. Allocating short time periods to finish such tasks can make it seem a little less scary.
Strategies like the timeboxing method can help you overcome procrastination. You will become more focused because the time limit can help you ignore distractions around you. You will be determined to finish the task at hand.
You’ll work on tasks that are “too short”. You can adjust a timebox to how long you need it to be. It can remind you to do tasks you keep forgetting to do but in reality, it just takes a few minutes to do. Sometimes this happens because you don’t bother to put short tasks on your to-do list since you think it’s enough just to take a mental note of it.
You’ll work on tasks that are “too long”. You can’t longer postpone the task you have been dreading to do.
If you’re a maladaptive perfectionist you have a tendency to be stuck on one task because you tend to struggle with leaving the task until you’re sure it’s error-free. This will make you spend too much time on one task and keep you from doing everything else on your to-do list.
If you struggle to concentrate, the timeboxing method can help you. It will let you understand that you cannot afford to be distracted because you will fall behind your tasks. Additionally, timeboxing will also prevent multitasking. You will not be distracted by other tasks while you’re trying to finish the one you already started with. It will narrow your focus to one specific task.
You can also measure your productivity levels with the timeboxing method. Take note of your peak production period, this the time where you have the highest energy. You can use this information to schedule more important tasks during that time and allot the smaller tasks during the time where you are less focused and more likely to be distracted.
Timeboxing can also let you determine if you have the time to take on other projects. This can help you prevent burnout or tiring yourself. Don’t overcommit, we all equally have 24 hours every day
Most importantly, it can create a balance in your life.
DISADVANTAGES OF TIMEBOXING METHOD
Different strategies can work for different people. The timeboxing method might not be for everyone. It’s important to use a technique or method that suits you to make sure that you are being as productive as you can be.
Timeboxing might not be suitable for people who find it hard to stop and switch to another task when they’re on the flow because they’re worried they might lose their train of thought.
If your job requires you to be more effective than efficient timeboxing might not be for you because you have to finish your work to a high level of quality however long it takes. Timeboxing might force you to rush the project which might cause you to fail in your objective.
It might be hard to find the proper or appropriate amount of time to allot on a task. Too short might compromise the quality of your work and too long can cause you to procrastinate at the end. But this can easily be fixed by trial and error.
Timeboxing is highly effective but used only when appropriate. It is important to find the best strategy that suits you. Try a bunch of methods and techniques in order to determine which one you become more productive.