You may have heard about time boxing – it’s nothing new. But have you ever tried it? Research shows that if you are in the middle of a task and someone interrupts you with a request, even one that requires just a simple verbal answer, you can still lose up to half an hour of concentration… half an hour!
Now multiply that by 4 or 5 times a day and that’s a significant proportion of your working day. So instead of getting distracted by menial requests or worse – your emails – try allocating timeslots to each task, and hold yourself accountable.
Here’s why it works:
You don’t overestimate
I’m a huge sucker for this – I write a list of things I want to achieve that day, but no timelines and in reality it’s too much. By actually thinking about how much time it will take to do something, you don’t overwhelm yourself with tasks and end the day feeling like nothing was accomplished.
It MAKES you stick to tasks
Anyone with a busy mind will know how easy it is to jump from one task to another, even without people distracting you. For a few people this is their most productive way to work, but for most of us it just causes lack of focus and poor results.
Time boxing gives you the mental nudge: ‘do this and only this for the next X hours’
It gives you a reason to say no
If you’re a people pleaser like me, you’ll often overcommit because even though you’re busy, when someone asks for help you’re the first to stick your hand up.
Timeboxing reminds you that your tasks are more important and gives you the excuse to say sorry, but I cant because I still need to XYZ today.