The internet and numerous self-help resources are utterly riddled with information about how you can attain higher levels of productivity. Some tell you that you need to simply put in the work without letting yourself get distracted. Others insist that you must take breaks in between and many emphasize the importance of setting goals. Strangely, however, not many of them mention timeboxing.
Now, don’t get us wrong. All the aforementioned pieces of advice are excellent in more ways than one and they do, in fact, help you to attain certain unprecedented levels of productivity if you use them properly. But, timeboxing, if used well can also help you achieve the same goal. Still, many fail to talk about it.
Not to worry, though. In this piece, we’ll walk you through the concept of timeboxing and how you can use it for improved productivity. But first,
What Is Timeboxing?
Timeboxing is a phrase that’s used to refer to allocating specific periods/timeframes to the completion of a task. You can consider it the direct opposite of the normal style of work where you simply start putting effort into an activity and you don’t stop until you’ve finished it.
Timeboxing aims to help you get things done much better because you wouldn’t spend more time than is required for optimal focus. It also helps you finish tasks faster because you are constantly aware that there is something else that needs to be done.
How to Use Timeboxing for Improved Productivity
Now that you’re all caught up on what timeboxing means, let’s take you through the exact ways you can use this unique system of work to help you get things done more effectively than before.
1. Decide just how long you need to complete a task
One of the most important elements in timeboxing, as the name already implies is time itself. While using this technique, you must begin to see time not just as a measure of moments that have passed or are to come. Instead, you must see time as a finite resource – something that can be utilized or wasted but never reacquired once lost.
With that in mind, try to find out how much time it will take you to finish a particular task. Are you trying to write a book? Are you designing a website or something of that sort? Do you need to complete a report for work? Whatever it is that you’re doing, calculate the longest possible and most reasonable amount of time it would take you to complete.
Once you’ve decided how long it’ll take you to complete the task, go a little lower than that and make that your benchmark for completion. Confused? Don’t be.
If you’re writing an article, for example, and it’ll take you roughly an hour to complete a thousand words, make your timebox 50 minutes instead of 60 minutes. That way, you would eliminate the possibility of wasting your time.
2. Use a timer while you work
Once you’ve determined how long you would take on a task and you’ve picked a day to start working on it, ensure that you use a timer. This part is so obvious that it almost goes without saying.
The timer is what will help you to ensure that you’re on track to getting the job done. It could be a project that could be completed in a single stretch. An easy example is writing an article. In that case, you should set your timer for the period you’ve determined to complete the project. Then, work consciously with the mindset that you have to meet a deadline. If, however, it is a very large project, then break it into smaller bits and set a timer for each. For example, when writing a full book, you could do a thousand words per day for an hour. That would be where your timer comes in.
3. Do not permit any distractions
You see, the biggest enemy you’ll have while you’re trying to effectively manage your time for productivity is a distraction. It could come from your phone, TV, spouse, kids or even your mind. All of these can be relatively hard to ignore but you must learn how to do so. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself constantly falling short of your expectations when you could be smashing your goals.
Granted, timeboxing might take a bit of getting used to, especially considering that it takes focus and determination. However, if you’re determined and willing to put in the work, you should be able to get a hang of it in no time.