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10 Reasons You Need To Time-Box Yourself

10 Reasons You Need To Time-Box Yourself

Are you having trouble managing your time and getting things done during the day?

If yes, you might want consider time-boxing!

Time-boxing is a time management technique in which you work on a particular task for a certain duration of time. Once your allotted work time for that task is finished, it’s time to move onto something else.

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Here are 10 reasons to time-box:

1. You need to prioritize your tasks more effectively.

Having trouble prioritizing tasks? Time-boxing forces you to make a decision as to how you will spend your time. Since tasks are contained and cannot be done at the same time (no multitasking here!) you have to choose and decide what tasks must be completed today, versus say, tomorrow or even next week.

2. You want a reliable way to get things done over time.

A great way to finish any project is to work on it a little by little until it is finished. Instead of jumping whole hog into a big project (thereby increasing your chances of burnout and exhaustion), you can make things easier for yourself by pacing yourself as you work. Just imagine how much headway you’ll make in two months’ time if you time-box 30 minutes per day to de-clutter your garage!

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3. You have difficulties in solving a problem.

The best way to deal with a problem is often not to ignore it, but to tackle it head on. Setting up a specific time or period of time to deal with your problem or problems can help you face them and push you to find a solution. Who knows, your next breakthrough or solution to a problem might just be around a time-boxed corner…

4. You need to increase your focus.

Time-boxing is a fantastic way to increase your focus. Great things can happen when you give yourself permission to work without interruptions. You can settle into your work, clearly approach a problem, hone your skills, practice creative thinking and most importantly of all…get things done.

5. You need a boost of motivation.

There’s nothing more satisfying than crossing off an item that’s been sitting on your to-do list for the better part of the month – wouldn’t you agree? You can get that same feeling of satisfaction by time-boxing your tasks. Every time you finish a time-box segment, you’ve successfully completed a task. How’s that for a boost of motivation as you work towards your work and/or personal goals?

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6. You want to switch your mind from “thinking mode” to “execution mode.”

Stop wasting time thinking about doing something that needs to be done and just do it! Time-boxing forces you to hunker down and get to work. Of course, it should be noted you can time-box your planning or goal-setting sessions, but the concept remains the same: you have to sit down and actually do your work.

7. You need to know how much time you’ve spent working on something.

Ever wondered how much time it took you to write up code for your website, process your emails, or go shopping for your dad’s birthday present? When you time-box tasks, not only do you create a set of finite tasks to accomplish with a certain period of time, you also conveniently create a record of how you spent your time. This information can be super-helpful if you need to enter in detailed info for your time sheets at work or are looking to better manage your time in general in your life.

8. You never set a deadline for tasks or projects.

The very nature of time-boxing is deadline driven; you set a specific period of time to complete a task or project and go do it. If you have trouble setting deadlines for larger tasks or projects, consider starting out small by time-boxing your daily tasks. You’ll get more and more practice reaching deadlines on a regular basis and in time will eventually be able to translate this towards your larger tasks and projects.

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9. You want to know which tasks need more or less time to complete.

An important part of time management is knowing how long it will take you to complete something, be it filing six pieces of paper or restocking an entire office supply cabinet with paper and print cartridges. Time-boxing can help you gauge whether or not you are actually giving yourself enough time to complete a task. As a matter of fact, evaluating your time-boxing segments can be a real eye opener! Most likely you’d want to strongly reconsider the 15 minutes you gave yourself to edit a detailed, 75-page report, or the 50 minutes you gave yourself to type up a quick, five-sentence note for your supervisor.

10. You want to create equal results in all of your work.

When used correctly, time-boxing can help you compare like items with like. Let’s say you have to complete research for three different work reports this week. If you equally time-box your preliminary and secondary research for all three projects, you’ll have specific and equal units of measurement by which to measure your progress. You can better reevaluate your work and make sure all of your work gets done in a timely fashion.

Do you time-box your work at the office, at home, or school? Do you think you’ll give this time and project management approach a try? Can you think of any other useful reasons to time-box? Leave a comment below.

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Rashelle Isip

Blogger, Consultant, and Author

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Last Updated on January 24, 2021

7 Ways to Eliminate Your Excuses

7 Ways to Eliminate Your Excuses

I have this friend. She uses excuses to get out of everything related to being a responsible adult (and I mean everything!). The worst part is, she’s been doing this for so long, excuses are now a deeply embedded part of her personality.

I used to gently nudge her toward ways to solve her excuses so she’d stop holding herself back, but she has the market cornered. Seriously, it’s an impenetrable force field. Her life isn’t at all how she wants it to be, and instead of taking responsibility for it, she pulls out her scroll of excuses and reads out the section called “Reasons Why Nothing Is My Fault.”

Truthfully, I’d have more respect for her if she were to just come out with it and say, “I’m not doing this or that because I’m too lazy.” Let’s face facts: if she wanted her picture-perfect lifestyle badly enough, she’d do anything to get it.

Why do I bother with her? Because at one time, I was her: ambitious, motivated, determined, but when things weren’t going how I wanted them to I was suddenly a victim of my environment. This led to years of spinning my tires. My excuses were always there to break my fall… until they weren’t. Like my friend, I was participating in a blind game of self-sabotage that led to my life turning out exactly how I swore it never would.

Like all bad habits, excuses are easy. They allow you to box yourself into your comfort zone and be “okay” with your life. After a while, you’ll find this way of living isn’t enough for you. You can either accept where your life is (which is the excuse-coated version of “give up”), or you can eliminate your excuses by taking responsibility for where you are now and more importantly, why you created the excuses in the first place.

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So what’ll it be? Yeah, I thought so. To help you get started, here are 7 ways to eliminate your excuses:

1. Read Between the Lines

Usually, the excuse you’re using is masking the real reason why you “can’t” accomplish something. For some, it’s a fear of failure. For others, it’s a self-esteem issue. For others still, it’s a fear of success or having something to lose.

If you’re unsure of where the excuses are coming from, simply ask yourself: if you were to succeed and accomplish what you want, what’s the worst thing that could happen? List off every worst case scenario, and you’ll likely recognize a theme. This is the issue to tackle.

2. Stop Ending Your Statements with a “But…”

This is a little trick I use that works every time: instead of saying “I’d really like to, but…”, cut yourself off and say “I’d really like to.” This triggers your mind to focus on the plans you need to make to reach your goals, instead of the roadblocks currently in your way. Instant motivation!

3. Avoid Other “Excusers”

One of the big things I noticed once I began stepping out of my comfort zone was the number of people in my life who were also making excuses. So many excuses, in fact, that looking back on our conversations together, we were always complaining and excusing! Imagine if we instead put all of that time into doing!

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Like you, those you spend time with might not realize they’re making excuses, and trust me you can point it out all you want – it’s a realization everyone has to come to on their own before they can change. Jump start a new conversation; be the one who changes the tune. If you eliminate your excuses, you’ll likely encourage those you care about to do the same.

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4. Trick Yourself

Depending on your goals, sometimes just thinking about them is overwhelming. This is especially the case with enormous goals, such as succeeding in a challenging career or building a business from the ground up. It’s too easy to become so overwhelmed you don’t get started at all.

Eliminate your excuses by creating the mother of all to-do lists as it relates to that specific goal. Break it down into itty bitty baby steps. Only work on one tiny step at a time, and hide the rest of the steps in a drawer. When you’re done the step, it doesn’t feel like it was such a big deal. Then move onto the next, and the next. This worked wonders for me when I started working on my first screenplay while simultaneously recovering from adrenal fatigue. Now, I’m able to work on it regularly—and comfortably—without a list at all.

Soon, you’ll look back on all of your tiny steps and will be amazed at your progress!

5. Build Excuse-Free Habits

As they say, “Feel the fear, but do it anyway.” Recognize the excuses you’re making, own up to them, and do what you want to do regardless of what you think is holding you back. Yes, it’s a lot easier said than done, but it’s one thing to say you have control of your life and another to take control.

Building these habits is difficult, and sometimes painful in the moment, but afterward you feel refreshed and indescribably proud of yourself. So much so, you’ll want to set your next challenge right away. It’s an addictive practice once you get started! Make testing your limits fun and enjoy the process on your own terms.

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6. Use Your Excuses As Signals

Once you recognize your excuses for what they are, you can begin using them to your advantage. Consider your excuses a signal to a deeper underlying problem. It’s a great way to familiarize yourself with what makes you tick. Each time you find yourself making an excuse, look into it further, find the true cause and work toward moving past it. The more you practice this, the less you’ll hold yourself back from your full potential.

7. Trust the Process

There are times when you sincerely want to do something, but there are aspects of your schedule/lifestyle/workload that hugely conflict with what you want. In these instances, you’re not in denial or making excuses, you’re simply examining the roadblocks that are in your way. It’s when you allow these roadblocks to stay in place that they become excuses.

Oddly enough, it’s when something’s really important to us that we start layering on the excuses. If you immediately turn to a proactive attitude when these situations arise, and trust yourself to think of a solution, you won’t have to eliminate your excuses – you won’t be able to find one.

How do you eliminate your excuses?

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