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As a busy entrepreneur, you’re often juggling many tasks in a single day. You will move from client delivery, marketing, sales, and administrative work to strategic planning, networking, and perhaps even more.
If you, like me, have many projects that you move forward on a weekly and monthly basis, it can sometimes become overwhelming to find time to get everything done.
I realized that it was much less efficient- at least for me- to switch between multiple containers (buckets) in my business. So what I started doing, a few months ago, is using time boxing.
Like it sounds, time boxing is a way of grouping your work and then setting aside segments of the day, one for each box.
Here’s how to do it:
1) Start with a time limit, let’s say 45-60 minutes. This is about how long most of can focus before we need a break.
2) Look at your to-do list, grouped by ‘type’ of work. I use the groupings I noted above- client delivery, marketing, sales, administrative work, and then I have a fifth one, ‘other’ for things that don’t fit anywhere else.
3) Select one group to work on during a set segment of my day. Sometimes, I move through three different groups in a day, other times, I stay focused on working within just one or two.
The Benefits of Time Boxing
1. Increases focus – When you know that you have a certain amount of time to devote all to one task, it is easier to get tasks completed. For 45-60 minutes, all you think about is writing those articles or answering all your emails. When the time is up, you move on to another task with the same fervor.
2. Curbs procrastination – When a task seems overwhelming, the result is often putting it off as long as we can. That only leads to a rush job and stress later on. With time boxing, you only spend a certain amount of time on a task and it makes it more manageable. With each box of time, you are closer to completing the goal. It’s been a little difficult for me to learn how to just work on projects a little bit at a time, but it’s a much easier way to make consistent progress.
3. Time awareness – Instead of wondering where your time goes, you can find out. If you want free time, schedule it in a box. Surf the Web or take some downtime, but within the confines of your schedule.
4. Motivation – When you see how much more energy you have for the tasks that need your attention you’ll want to “box” everything up. When productivity increases, you can then look at big projects in a new way so that you are no longer putting them off.
How is your time spent during your business day? Time boxing may be the answer to plug those time leaks you might have been experiencing.
Since using time boxing, it’s been much easier to get more done and feel like I’m making good progress.