Timeboxing is an approach to task and time management that sets rigid constraints on how long a given task or project can take to complete. Extensions are not permitted.
The term comes from agile software development, in which a time box is defined period during which a task must be accomplished. By establishing and enforcing non-negotiable deadlines, timeboxing is designed to eliminate the potential for procrastination and perfectionism, both of which can lead to late delivery. As a result, timeboxing should also improve productivity.
Depending on the particular task, a timebox might have a duration of minutes, days or weeks. In any case, the best approach is to get started without delay, have a plan and work in an organized fashion. For timeboxes of longer durations and projects that aren't easily broken down into discrete tasks, a timebox may also be used simply to define how long an individual will work on something at that time.
How to practice timeboxing:
- Decide on the task to be completed or the larger project to work on.
- Remove as many potential sources of interruption as possible.
- Set a hardware or software timer for a period that should allow you to accomplish what you set out to do.
- Focus on the given task until the timer goes off.
- Stop when the timer goes off.
- Take a break, maybe reward yourself for finishing the timebox.
- Repeat as necessary.
See also: pomodoro technique