When it comes to time management, many of us need help breaking tasks or projects down into manageable time “bites”. Using Time Boxing techniques can help.
Both Pomodoro and Time Boxing techniques offer us a more productive approach to tasks and deliverables for personal and business projects.
Time boxing is a technique often used by project managers but can easily be adapted to personal use. In this technique, we set individual time “boxes” in segments of 30 min’s or so. The amount of time we set should challenge us to get a task done efficiently but without being overly perfectionist about it!
It’s helpful to know generally how long a task might take you and to ‘time box’ your set task to that amount or slightly less. The idea with time boxing is to keep you moving forward with a deadline to help you increase your focus, reduce distractions and increase your creative output. Time boxing is great for tasks like writing, research, checking emails, planning (weekly sessions) brainstorming creative ideas and breaking larger projects down into smaller tasks. Actually, just about any task can be time boxed.
Time boxing can be used individually or with a team (family meetings, creative meetings with staff etc). The technique was born out of the need to set boundaries around tasks that have unknown or undefined outcome (such as in research). Speed dating is a great example of time boxing at a warp pace!
If you’re interested in learning more about Time Boxing, especially for business and project management, check out this article.
The Pomodoro Technique is really just a specific way of using time boxing that was developed in the 90’s by Francesco Cirillo. This time management or productivity tool utilizes 25 minute time boxes to focus on specific tasks (setting your Pomodoro timer keeps your senses engaged). In between the 25 min segments you get a 5 minute break.
The 6 objectives for using this technique include:
- Understand and break your overall activity/task into “Pomodoro’s” (or 25 min time blocks)
- Protect your time blocks from distractions
- Learn to accurately assess time needed (Pomodoro’s) for your activities
- Include time to recap and review your progress
- Structure your time according to your scheduling needs (when you are most efficient, deadlines, personal needs etc)
- Choose your own objectives (more creativity, more free time, more productivity etc)
Have you used any time boxing techniques like Pomodoro or even speed networking or speed dating? If so, what did you think about it? Is Time Boxing or Pomodoro something you would like to try at work or personally? I’d love to hear how it goes for you, please share your experiences in the comments below.