Time Boxing

Time Boxing
Question: How do you eat a whale?
Answer: One bite at a time!

Anytime you decide to focus on a single task, you need to decide if it can be reasonably be finished the same day or if it will take more time. If it is the latter, you may want to consider Time Boxing.

Time boxing is a common technique for large IT projects to insure that the various subparts are completed in a timely manner; however, it is also a great way for anyone who wants to tackle a long, complex, or boring task.

Instead of attempting to complete the task in a single time period, it is broken into smaller pieces. The key to this method is that each ‘Time Box’ is defined for a set number of minutes and you also decide on a distinct deliverable or measured outcome for each one.

For example, suppose you would like to read a non-fiction business book with 14 chapters; however, you do not have enough free time in your schedule to devote an entire afternoon to devour whole volume. Instead, you decide to put aside 45 minutes each morning at 7:00 AM for the next two weeks to read. Your goal is to complete one chapter each day.

When using Time Boxing, the quality or quantity of the deliverables can slide a little, but the scheduled does not. Also, you stop working on the task when the after the set amount of have has lapsed. Consider this permission to stop, especially if it an undesirable task, so you can proceed to focus on other important items. Sometimes, this will mean that reading the entire book may take a full 15 days due to a long unusually long chapter, so planning at the beginning is essential. The goal is to hit the deadline. Schedule enough boxes to make this possible; however, however, there is always some flexibility to re-negotiate the time table, just make sure you do this before the last day.

Personally, I think Time Boxing is great for writing journal entries, short stories, essays, etc.

In addition, Time Boxing is an easy way to conquer procrastination as it provides a road-map for completion (and each deliverable can also be seen a reward, the fruit of one’s effort). As a result, I strongly believe that it should be part of everyone’s Life Mastery Toolbox.