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What Is Timeboxing? And How Do I Do It?

In this day and age, where everything seems to have sped up, organizing one’s life, business and free time is more difficult than ever. We may use various strategies that prove more or less successful. But there is one idea that has grown in popularity in recent years and we think it is worth a try – timeboxing.

What is timeboxing?

Timeboxing could be considered as a time management method that involves choosing an activity and assigning it a fixed maximum time period for completion. Therefore it also makes sense to consider it a potential method for agile project management or other for instance modern software development management aspects. The moment you reach that time limit, you stop working and focus on working on something else, regardless of whether you actually finished the said task or not.

Alarm Clock Pastel Background Timeboxing Time Management Methods Explained Guide Article

A good way to select which activities to start with is focusing on those that are the most difficult to find motivation for. Making a to-do list is a great start. When you select the activity, think about the goal you are trying to accomplish by timeboxing it.

The second step is setting the time. If you anticipate the activity to be boring or difficult, devoting it a short time period like 20-30 minutes is a good idea. A larger repetitive task can have a time frame of a couple of hours. You can also predict short rest breaks between multiple timed segments.

This might be also interesting for you: The Spook of Time: Abandoning the Clock for a Happier and Healthier You

The third step is doing the activity itself. Keep in mind that you have to stop when the set time frame is over. Make sure to set a timer on your phone or computer to alert you when the allocated time is over.

The final and the best step is the reward, helping you motivate yourself for the future. Rewarding can be anything from a piece of chocolate, a hot bath, anything you might enjoy.

To-Do List Taking Notes Writing Organization Productivity Hand Pen Pencil Close Macro Timeboxing

Why use timeboxing?

The answer is pretty simple. It aids with self-discipline, motivation, organization, and productivity, helping you to take full control over your time. That said, timeboxing can also be useful when working in teams. Specifically, it helps allocate time for specific tasks to team members.

This way you can avoid procrastination, but also unwarranted perfectionism. It is a proven fact that deadlines help people focus on tasks at hand and ignore distractions, so timeboxing can truly benefit your company or organization’s work.

Photo credit: The feature image “when time stood still” has been done by Seth Macey. The photo “blue clock on a pastel background” has been done by Icons8. The image “if you have a little bit of time left…” was taken by Glenn Carstens-Peters.

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Sead Fadilpasic
Freelance writer / journalist / blogger. Tech enthusiast and gadget freak. Guitarist. Previously Al Jazeera journalist.