Focus. Prioritization. To-do lists. The words you come across, again and again, every time you think about productivity in the workplace. However, we have come to an age where a conventional method may not be as effective as it was in the time before. Work is no longer as simple as it used to be, we deal with multiple things at once, ending up with making everything an important priority and feeling unfulfilled when the end of the day comes and there are only a few things checked off your To-do list.
How do we get rid of this feeling of not being productive? How do we deal with so many things on our plate at once? Fortunately, there may be an answer. It may not be a perfect one, but it is one which is worth a shot.
Feels like you have heard this somewhere? You may very well have.
Time-boxing is a simple concept of committing to a time in which you complete the task itself, rather than committing to the task itself.
The idea is to look at a task in advance and understand how many timeboxes it requires. This comes with experience but you can start by breaking down work into smaller intervals and finishing an allocated amount of work in those little intervals. These intervals may last anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes per interval.
Then comes an essential principle which is that you need to take a break after every interval. A break that could last from 5 to 7 minutes.
Now, here is where it gets interesting. Let’s suppose you have three things to work on, let us call them tasks A, B, and C. Usually what happens is that we look to complete a task in its entirety before moving on to the next one but the feeling of having other tasks to complete keeps nagging us. Additionally, sometimes we run into a block with a particular task and don’t have the will to move on without finishing it.
Time-boxing addresses this issue by making you break down a task into smaller pieces, finishing how much ever work you can in that timebox with remarkable focus, with the focus being on the time rather than the task, take a break, and move on to another timebox. Now, this other time-box can be of the same task or a different one but you have to respect the principle of moving on to the next time-box without fail.
Overall, time-boxing is one of the most efficient ways of time-management which allows you to make a dent in the bigger tasks, finish smaller tasks, make you feel like you are on top of the day, have maximum focus on what you are doing, beat procrastination and let go of perfectionism. The breaks are equally important and help you replenish your energy.
There are multiple apps in the market such as the Pomodoro timer, or the Tomato timer which will help you get started with this marvelous method, proven time and again.