Go from Overwhelmed to in Control: Embrace Time Boxing for a More Organised and Fulfilling Life

Have you ever lost track of time while you focused on something you enjoyed while not getting the things done that were on your list?

Today I want to write about a productivity technique that can help with this: Time Boxing.

What is Time Boxing?

Time boxing is a time management technique where you allocate a fixed time period, known as a time box, to each planned activity.

Let's assume you are going to write an article, like I'm doing right now. I have set a 25-minute timer for this. I will not write longer than these 25 minutes, and I will only write during this time. I will not check my phone or look at notifications. The only thing I will do is write.

These are the only two rules for time boxing: Allocate a fixed time and then focus on doing only that activity.

Benefits of Time Boxing for Productivity

The benefits are vast.

Through having a structure, focus and output are enhanced. It allows you to concentrate on one task at a time. Multitasking and distractions are not allowed. This means you will improve the quality of your work and complete it faster.

When you have a defined amount of time to work on a task and a specific start and end time, it creates a sense of urgency. This, in turn, will prevent procrastination.

We all have too much on our plates, and sometimes, if it is too much, we switch into a reactive mode of working. Time boxing allows you to be more aware of what you spend your time on. It balances the workload and helps prevent burnout from focusing on one project or task too much.

Have you ever wondered where all the time went? You might have lost track and gone from reading an email with a link to an article to another article, and so on. When you use time boxing, you reduce the time that is spent on non-essential tasks.

Once you apply this for a while, you will learn how long it takes you to complete certain tasks. This will help you become more efficient and productive over the long run.

How to Get Started with Time Boxing

Stacking time boxing with other productivity tools and techniques really helps skyrocket your efficiency. Once you have planned your focus areas and defined your goals, you can use the pomodoro technique for time boxing. I usually take 25 minutes as a segment, and after that, I take a 5-minute break.

If there is a bigger task or project, I split it into smaller chunks over a couple of days.

Your Action Items:

  1. Start small: Take one task and decide how much time you want to spend on it. You can use this, i.e., for dealing with your email. I combine time blocking and time boxing. I block every day a certain amount to spend on email. Then I make sure to not spend more time on it and only focus on that task in the allocated time.
  2. Integrate time boxing into your daily routines: Make it a habitual part of your life.
  3. Evaluate and Adjust: Review your time boxes on a monthly basis to make sure they still work for you. Update what doesn't work.

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Last Update: December 04, 2023