How many times have you attempted to start a task or project only to become unfocused in a matter of minutes?
If distraction is keeping you from getting down to business, then take a look at a popular time management method known as timeboxing.
What is Timeboxing?
Timeboxing is a project management method that involves the breaking down of tasks into small, easily manageable time windows.
A popular timeboxing method is known as the Pomodoro Technique, created by entrepreneur Francesco Cirillo. This techniques involves 25-minute time allotments in which a task is performed, followed by short breaks.
How Can Timeboxing Help You?
1. Decrease Perfectionist Tendencies
As a recovering perfectionist myself, I know how easy it is to fall into the work-tweak-work trap.
What I mean by that is, I thought that tweaking my work as I went along instead of saving it for the end was the more productive method. But, if you think about it, it's easy to see how interrupting your work to make inconsequential fixes every few minutes can lead to less productivity and a higher occurrence of perfectionism.
So, if you're also a recovering perfectionist, you'll be happy to know that I've found great success with timeboxing and use it in many aspects of my work and personal life. Timeboxing helps me to cut back on my perfectionism and, instead, focus on the bigger picture.
2. Increase Focus
When your to-do list seems to be a mile long, it can be difficult to sit down and focus on just one task at a time.
If you need a kick in the butt, then timeboxing can provide the structure you need.
When you have 25 minutes to complete a task (or a small part of a task), you're less likely to allow your mind to wander. After all, timeboxing only requires your undivided attention for short periods of time, after which you'll receive a reward (a 5 or 10 minute break).
3. Get the Creative Juices Flowing
You don't have to be in a work-crazed fog for the creativity to flow. In fact, the longer you work on a project, the more narrow your visions about that project become.
With timeboxing, though, the short bursts of intense focus followed by small periods of rest and recuperation can lend themselves to creative genius.
How to Get Started with Timeboxing
If you're looking for a free and easy way to boost your productivity throughout the day, then timeboxing is for you.
All you need is a timer (which can be found online or on your phone) and a bit of willpower and determination.
You simply set the timer for your preference (20 – 25 minutes is the usual recommendation), and then when time's up you take a short 5 – 10 minute break. You do this about 3 or 4 times before you take a longer break (about 30 minutes) and then you start all over again until your work for the day is complete. This may be difficult to do with tasks that require longer periods of focus, but timeboxing can be easily modified or used as an intermittent time management technique with great success.
Have you ever used timeboxing to complete a project? What other time management methods have you used in the past?
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