Time Boxing

With Time Boxing you allocate a certain amount of time to your tasks, as opposed to working on something until it’s finished.

There are two ideas behind this approach:

  1. You’re working on a single task with more focus, and
  2. It is an effective ‘cure’ against Parkinson’s law.

Parkinson’s law says:

Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.

In other words, if you have four days for a project, it’ll take you about four days to finish it, while you’d finish it in two if you’d just have two days. There may be more pressure, but you’ll find ways to finish it in time.

Obviously you can’t reduce your time to unrealistic levels. You have to play with this approach a bit. Time box in 30 (Pomodoro), 60 or 90 minutes. If your projects are bigger than that, break them down so until their parts fit in the time boxes you set for yourself.

I’m always intrigued how many people know breaking down big projects is a good approach, but never use it. Try this approach tomorrow. Pick a task, break it down and set short deadlines for it. See how will work for you.