Imagine that you have a critical project deadline in two days. You also have a dentist’s appointment and you have plans to meet up with a friend who is in town only for one night. To top it all, your cousin is coming over. Seems a little overwhelming, doesn’t it?

What you need is a time management system that will help you prioritize your tasks. Timeboxing is one such method that can make your life easier.  Read on to understand how this system boosts productivity and efficiency.

What Is Timeboxing?

Timeboxing is a simple and effective way to manage your time. The idea is to allocate a certain amount of time specifically to a particular task or an activity and complete that task within that time frame.

Timeboxes always have specific deadlines and goals, and may also include budgets, milestones and deliverables. You can use one of two primary types of timeboxes depending on how you’d want to manage your time. These are:

  • Hard Timebox

When a hard timebox ends, you stop everything that you are doing. You may take a break or move on to another task, but you must make a hard stop. For example, examinations have hard timeboxes where no one is given extra time after a predetermined period gets over.

  • Soft Timebox

When a soft timebox ends, you can still complete the ongoing activity. It gives you some flexibility with your time because the task at hand may be important. For example, meetings often extend beyond the allotted time and you have to adjust your schedule accordingly.

Examples Of Timeboxing

Here are a few simple examples of timeboxing to familiarize you with the concept.

  1. Example 1

Imagine you want to declutter your workstation but don’t want to spend the entire day doing it. You create a hard timebox of 45 minutes. You must stop immediately when the timebox is up, no matter how much of the task you have completed.

  1. Example 2 

You find it difficult to respond to emails at work because it breaks your concentration. With timeboxing, you can block some time for this specific task and not let your productivity get affected. For example, you can respond to unread messages at the end of the day or when you are taking a break.

Advantages Of Timebox Management

Timeboxing is one of the most efficient ways to maximize productivity and avoid procrastination. Here are some added benefits that’ll prompt you to adopt the timeboxing method.

  1. Improved Focus

Timeboxing helps you plan your day, letting you distribute your focus and energy. This way you can dedicate your complete attention to one task at a time. You’re able to give your 100% to the task because you don’t let anything else distract you within that time frame.

  1. Increased Assessment Opportunities

When a timebox gets over, you can always assess your work. You can decide if you are happy with the output and check if you’ve utilized your time efficiently. If you’re happy with your progress, you can replicate your timeboxes. If not, you can reflect on the obstacles.

  1. Better Organization

Calendar timeboxing is one of the easiest ways to organize your work and plan your day. Through this, you can arrange your schedules and accommodate other commitments quickly and confidently.

  1. Healthier Self-Control

When you make decisions about how you’d like to spend your day, you’ll feel more in control. Since you will be deciding what to do and when to do it, you will also be able to brush aside all distractions that may interrupt your workflow. Consistent control is a great motivator for success.

How To Use Timebox Management

The timeboxing management technique involves four easy steps.

  1. Prioritize and label your tasks. For example, you may label a task as ‘not worth spending too much time on’ and you can schedule it towards the end of your to-do list.

  2. Once you’ve listed down your tasks, think about what you want to achieve through them. Define your goal. For example, you might want to finalize the agenda for your next team meeting. Your timebox should be able to accommodate that goal.

  3. The next step is to create timeboxes. You decide when to start and stop working on a particular task. You can even mark your calendar to stay on track with your to-dos.

  4. You may track the time you spend on each task and assess your results. If you manage to reach your goal within the assigned deadline, reward yourself.

Your Time Starts Now!

If you think about it, life is full of timed intervals and we’re all dependent on timelines to a certain extent. Harappa Education’s Practicing Excellence course will teach you how to manage time effectively and be more productive. More specifically, the Pomodoro Technique, a timebox management tool, will help you avoid procrastination and prioritize your work. Learn to effectively manage your time before it gets the better of you!

Explore topics such as Time Management & Importance of Time Management from our Harappa Diaries section and boost your productivity.

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