Time Management > Time Managemet Systems > Time Management Theories: Time Boxing
Time Management Theories: What is Time Boxing?
There are many different time management systems floating around.
From Get Things Done, to the time management matrix to the Pareto rule. One of my favorite time management theories is time boxing.
What is Time Boxing?
You know the joke about eating the elephant? It goes like this:
Q: How do you eat an elephant?
A: One bite at a time.
The point is that to do a big task, breaking it down into smaller more manageable chunks makes it much easier to take on. With time boxing simply divide a big project into much smaller tasks, and set an appropriate time for the small task to be done. Set your timer and get to it!
For example, if I wanted to clean a very messy house, I might decide to just start with the bathroom. I decide 20 minutes is a fair amount of time to clean it, so I set the timer for 20 minutes and I just clean like crazy until either the bathroom is clean or the timer goes off. You can then take a break or reset the timer for another task.
Why is Time Boxing Effective?
For a start it is definitely one of the simplest time management theories!
Time boxing is great for perfectionists and procrastinators. It is literally as simple as set the timer, start it and get to work. You can even set a time limit to divide your larger task into small chunks before you begin. It is surprising how much can be done in a short period of time when you completely focus on the task. Time boxing helps force you to focus.
Often you will find that starting is the hardest part. Sometimes a task is overwhelming to you, and you find yourself putting it off indefinitely. Set the timer for just 5 minutes and just get what you can done in that 5 minutes. Once you begin you will usually find it is much easier to carry on. As you progress you can set your timer for longer periods. (I usually use 15 minutes as my minimum time).
Simple Time Management Skills: Time Boxing Can Be Used for Everything
I use time boxing all the time. I have a couple of timers for different areas in my life, the best thing is they are super cheap. A couple of bucks from a dollar store and you and your kitchen timer are good to go!
As I am self employed, I find that my timer helps me get started in the mornings. Often once I am started, carrying on is easy - just getting over the hump of starting is the real challenge. I use it for housework when I am just not in the mood to vacuum or mop floors.
Why time boxing is one of my favorite time management theories is because of how simple and versatile it is. I love trying to see just how much I can get done before the timer goes off - meaning that my work is focused and undistracted.
What are you waiting for? Head to your local dollar store to pick up your timer and get started on your very low cost time management system!
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