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15 Time Boxing Strategies to Get Things Done - Litemind

Get meaningful work done first

Working on your most important projects first thing in the morning will guarantee that you do meaningful work in your day. 

Create a time box to work on your biggest goals every day — before the world out there has a chance to disrupt your plans.

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15 Time Boxing Strategies to Get Things Done - Litemind

15 Time Boxing Strategies to Get Things Done - Litemind

https://litemind.com/time-boxing/

litemind.com

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Key Ideas

Time boxing

It is one of the most effective time management tools.

Time boxing is about fixing a time period to work on a task or group of tasks. Instead of working on a task until it’s done, you commit to working on it for a specific amount of time.

Dealing with small tasks

Time boxes are a great way to tackle those small but annoying tasks. 

A good strategy for dealing with them is to fix a time period and tackle all of them at one sitting.

Overcome procrastination

If you're procrastinating on a task, don't force yourself to finish it. Just put it in a time box.

Setting a time for it will help you overcome your resistance towards the task and chances are that when the time is up you’ll have built enough momentum to continue working on it much longer.

Conquer perfectionism

If you're a perfectionist, you probably dwell on a task for so long that when you notice, a big chunk of your time is gone.

To avoid perfectionism, having a definite cut-off time for a task is one of the best strategies you can use.

Sharpen your focus

Time boxing a particular task helps with excluding other tasks and unrelated thoughts from your radar during that particular time window. 

Reducing mental clutter is essential if you want to be fully productive.

Boost motivation

Big tasks, no matter how important, can be demotivating, because you need to work for too long to see their outcomes.

But just like the simple act of crossing off items from your to-do list can be motivating, so is successfully completing a time box. Completing a time box works as a visible sign of progress.

Raise time awareness

How many times have you wondered at the end of the day where did all your time go?

Being more aware of how much you can really fit in your time helps you say ‘no’ to unimportant things more often. Structuring your day in time boxes will help you control how you spend your time.

Create a work rhythm

You only get maximum effectiveness if you properly balance periods of work and rest. Time boxes provide a great framework to allow this balance to happen. The key is to find your own rhythm.

Alternating between different types of time boxes (such as work/rest, or hard/easy tasks) maximizes your use of energy and enables you to accomplish much more. 

Get meaningful work done first

Working on your most important projects first thing in the morning will guarantee that you do meaningful work in your day. 

Create a time box to work on your biggest goals every day — before the world out there has a chance to disrupt your plans.

Balance your life

We usually become too focused on a specific area of our lives at the expense of others.

Pre-allocating time boxes for the things that matter most is an excellent strategy to help you live a balanced life.

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Brian Tracy

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Work Around Your Energy Levels

Productivity is directly related to your energy level.

Find your most productive hours — the time of your peak energy — and schedule Deep Work for those periods. Do low-value and low-energy tasks (also known as shallow work), such as responding to emails or unimportant meetings, in between those hours.

Plan Your Day the Night Before

Before going to bed, spend 5 minutes writing your to-do list for the next day. These tasks should help you move towards your professional and personal goals.

You’ll be better prepared mentally for the challenges ahead before waking up and there won’t be any room for procrastination in the morning. As a result, you’ll work faster and smoother than ever before.

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The Fireman

For you, every event is a crisis and there is always one. You have no time to deal with minor issues like time management, and they accumulate.

Solution: Plan your day and start...

The Over-Committer

You say yes to everything and have trouble setting boundaries, or if you a boss, setting boundaries on the behavior of others who report to you. You overwhelm yourself and that leads to difficulties in fulfilling all your commitments.

Solution: Understand that work-life balance is essential for your well being. Learn to say no and start doing it. 

The Aquarian

You have a borderline avoidant approach to work and your high sociability gets in the way of task management and productivity.

Solution: find ways to motivate yourself, avoid procrastination and don’t forget why you are working at something. 

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By the hour

This works well for the chronic procrastinator: those who say they will do it later and then wonder why it never gets done.

Instead of getting overwhelmed, tackle your to-do l...

The Pomodoro Method

Rather than trying to work flat-out, break down your day into a series of work-sprints with a short rest period after each session.

Set a timer for 25 min and focus exclusively on your work for that time, take a 5 min break, and repeat.

Some people find that taking a 5 min break destroys their flow. But it does help to break long complex tasks into a series on manageable sprints.

The 2-minute rule

The 2-minute rule is a strategy for quickly assessing and taking action on small tasks so they don’t take up too much mental energy.

Ask yourself if a task is going to take you 2 minutes or less. If so, just do it.

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Write A Stop-Doing List

Remind yourself of items that don’t bring you joy, and contribute very little to your long-term goals.

This way, you’re unlikely to spend a lot of time doing time-sucking, non-rewardin...

Schedule Procrastination Breaks

During this allotted break, give yourself permission to do time-wasting activities (social media scrolling included) until you got bored and want to move on to your next task. 

Divide Your Day Into Themes

And if your job isn’t ideal for focusing on one thing per day, you can dedicate your morning to one focus area, your early afternoon to another, and late afternoon to another.

This way, instead of being overly restrictive about finishing a task in that time period, you have the flexibility to do any work that moves you forward in that particular focus area.

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Time Management And Personality

In order for any time-management method to be successful, you have to take into account people’s individual behaviors at work. There is no one-size-fits-all method for time management.

The Action Hero

Give them a seemingly impossible list of tasks and they will have them done and dusted faster than a speeding bullet. But in their haste, they can miss things and prioritize nonurgent tasks.

Strategy: For this type, ranking tasks according to urgency is a good call. 

The Diva

Very sociable and upbeat but with a tendency to procrastinate, they often boast about their nonexistent achievements giving the impression they are more productive than they really are.

Strategy: breaking tasks into tiny steps, scheduling their resolution and setting reminders works well. Email management according to urgency is also crucial considering how much time it usually consumes. 

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Take The Smallest Step Possible

When you don't feel motivated, take the smallest step possible toward your goal. 

Instead of telling yourself to workout for an hour, say you'll go for 10 minutes. 

Positive Outcomes From Your Action

Focus on what the reward is when you take action.

Be very selective about what you let into your experience and surround yourself with to keep your energy as clean as possible to achieve the goals you want.

Give Yourself A Hard Deadline

... then put it on the calendar. 

Treat the deadline the same as if your boss created it, and then honor it the same way you would if your boss were waiting for you to complete the task.

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The Easily Distracted

Getting sidetracked by minor concerns and are never quite able to bring the focus that you need to larger projects.

What to do: Build extra time when ...

The Under-estimator

You routinely fail to complete tasks because you underestimate the time necessary to finish them.

What to do: Assume as a rule that things will take longer than you expect. Start earlier than you think you need to in order to have a buffer for eventualities. Also, investigate how long past assignments took and why, and identify patterns there that can guide future decisions.

The Fire Fighter

Everything feels like a crisis to you and you spend much of your time putting out fires, leaving you without much time for your biggest priorities.

What to do: Identify your most important goals. List the things you need to accomplish within a given timeframe. Work on other items only if you finish your must-do’s for the timeframe. Also, try setting aside “work blocks” on your calendar to work on your highest priorities, and don’t let yourself schedule over them.

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The Outline method
The Outline method

It requires you to structure your notes in form of an outline by using bullet points to represent different topics and their subtopics. 

Start writing main topics on the far left ...

The Cornell Method
  • The page is divided into 3 or 4 sections (top for title and, bottom for summary, 2 columns in the center).  
  • 30% of width should be kept in the left column while the remaining 70% for the right column.
  • All notes go into the main note-taking column
  • The smaller column on the left side is for comments, questions or hints about the actual notes. 
The Boxing Method

All notes that are related to each other are grouped together in a box. 

A dedicated box is assigned for each section of notes which cuts down the time needed for reading and reviewing.

Apps are especially helpful for this method because content on the page can be reordered or resized subsequently.

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Obstacles to Getting Stuff Done
  • The habit of putting off starting, because it’s uncomfortable.
  • Maybe you get started, but then constantly switch to other tasks.
  • You put off starting (or finishing) because con...
Picking one important thing

If you focus on getting the small stuff done but not the big stuff, or switch between tasks all the time, you’ll be less effective.

Pick one important thing to focus on at a time and learn to evaluate what tasks and projects are of higher value to you.

Starting

It's best done by focusing on the smallest first step and practicing just launching into that.

Pick the tiniest first step, and launch into it.

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Attach reason to the task

Getting motivated about a task doesn’t mean you have to be happy or excited about it. 

Sometimes you must ask yourself: Why is this task important? What will it bring about in ...

Your unwillingness to get started

Have you ever had a looming deadline on a big project only to spend an inordinate amount of time cleaning out your refrigerator or detailing your car?

If you struggle to get started on a project until it’s crunch time, you might have an unhealthy relationship with stress. Research shows that people can be just as addicted to stress as they are to likes on their social media posts.

Use the 15-minute rule

You can accomplish quite a bit in just 15 minutes, and yet most of us fritter away that time on our phones in between meetings or during a commute. 

Commit to working on a put-off task for 15 minutes without interruption. Stop at 15 minutes. Don’t allow yourself to work any longer. Do this every day for a week and mark your progress.