Updated: Feb 4, 2020
Timeboxing is a great time management tool to help you procrastinate less and produce more.
Here are some top tips to help Time boxing work for you.
ALLOCATE FIXED PERIODS THAT WORK FOR YOU
With Time boxing you allocate periods of time within your calendar. Before you even consider what work you will complete in these time periods you need to be realistic about the time that you can allocate.
Allocate shorter and longer periods of time. Make sure that you leave a period of time afterwards to finish up if you need to.
If you have days when you are busier with customer enquiries or other work coming in then take this in to consideration. It helps to build this into a routine each week but with added flexibility if needed.
There are a number of templates that can be found online to give you an idea of how Time boxing has been used successfully. You can also use project management based apps/systems which will help you manage your list of tasks for completion and to timetable them.
Another option is to use your online calendar so that you can click and drag timeboxes if you need to rearrange them. Ensure that you have a certain number of timeboxes marked out on the calendar as busy so that the time is protected for you.
TIMEBOXING CAN BE FOR PROFESSIONAL OR PERSONAL
You can allocate any type of activity to help you manage your time in a way that works for you.
This means that you could even time box personal tasks to split up the professional activities. This can also help you give you a mental break from tasks you have been working on. Switch up the day with the activities you enjoy doing between the ones you find harder to sit down and get started.
HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU NEED?
Time boxes can be any period of time you choose. A mixture of shorter and longer periods will help you to schedule the larger projects but also add in shorter periods of time where you can clear the small miscellaneous tasks from the ‘To Do list’
Allocate the time boxes to suit your schedule and the way that you work. If you have more energy and focus in the mornings then consider putting your longer time boxes in the earlier part of the day.
You don’t need to allocate specific activities into the time boxes. Theme the time box and then group activities into the themes. Larger themes can then be allocated a higher number of time boxes across the week or timeboxes that are longer in length.
USE THE TIME BOXES TO SUPPORT YOUR PRIORITIES
Every morning it is beneficial to determine your three priorities for the day. These should be two start and finish tasks and one task that is part of a larger task that will take a longer period of time to complete.
Your list of priorities and your time boxes for that day are interdependent on each other. Look ahead at your schedule for the day when you are determining the priorities what length of time boxes do you have and what can you get completed by the end of the day when using the time available to you.
TURN OFF ALL DISTRACTIONS DURING TIME BOX PERIODS
Time boxes are there to help you focus for a set period. To enable you to do this remove as many distractions as possible. Turn your phone to silent or switch it off, check that the notifications on your laptop are switched off, internet browser closed etc.
Commit to focusing on that one task in that period of time and you may be very surprised at how much you get done without interruptions.
WHEN THE CLOCK STARTS – YOU START
Time boxing is a great way to avoid procrastination. When the clock starts, you start that activity. That is your time to work. Set a reminder so that you know what you should be doing and don’t allow for excuses to make you late starting. Get into the routine of sitting down and working on the activity for that set period without distractions.
When you are time tabling your time boxes you will want to consider allowing time to overrun or to complete a small activity to reward yourself. If you have particularly challenging activities then make sure that the time that follows them are enjoyable and give you some time out to give your brain a rest afterwards. If you find yourself avoiding the task ahead then remind yourself of the reward once it is complete.
*This blog was first written and published for Zing365 and has been republished with their permission.
Overwhelm of workload can be a big factor in causing stress and anxiety. Time boxing is just one of many strategies used to help manage time and the 'To-Do' lists of life.