Timeboxing for Faster Results

Get stuff done faster and limit wasted time with Timeboxing

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According to Parkinson's Law, "Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion." To try and combat this, we can use the technique called Timeboxing!

Timeboxing is a time management technique in which a fixed amount of time is allocated for a specific task or activity. The reason we do this is to set clear boundaries on how much time can be spent on a task. By doing this, we can help to increase focus, productivity, and efficiency.

It’s commonly used to control the amount of effort, money, complexity, and obviously time that is spent on a single endeavor, and by using this technique, we tend to focus on a specific outcome at the end of the timebox. 

Example 1

Imagine that you have a project that needs to be completed by the end of the day. You can use timeboxing to divide the project into smaller, more manageable tasks and allocate a specific amount of time for each task. For example, you might decide to spend the first hour of the day researching the topic, the second hour writing the introduction, the third hour writing the body of the paper, and the fourth hour editing and revising the final draft. By breaking the project down into smaller chunks and allocating a fixed amount of time for each task, you can stay focused and avoid getting overwhelmed by the scope of the project.

Example 2

Another example of Timeboxing is used for experimentation of new ideas, products, prototypes, processes, or whatever else that you’re uncertain may or may not work. Let’s say for example that you’ve developed an idea for a new process that you can implement at work. Unfortunately, you have no idea if it will actually yield the results that your manager is looking for. Timeboxing may prove useful here because you can set a fixed amount of time to try and implement or test the new process. If it doesn’t yield the desired results by the end of the timebox, then you decided if you either want to kill the project or change the requirements.

How to use it

In most cases, Timeboxing should be used to limit the amount of effort you put into a certain task.

  1. Select a task or project

  2. Assign a strict span of time to that task or project

  3. Identify the goals of that span of time

  4. Execute

  5. At the end of the span of time, measure and evaluate

  6. Kill, finish, or redirect the project

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