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.
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!
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?
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.
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.