• Date: 23/11/2010

    Timeboxing

     Fiona, who has to manage her time incredibly well as Product Delivery Manager at Objektum Solutions introduces the concept of Timeboxing...

    Everyone is familiar with the phrase "so much to do, so little time".  In today's busy world we are trying to balance multiple lifestyles, wishes and aspirations.  As people of the 21st century we are always looking for ways of managing our time more productively. The workplace has especially become more demanding with shorter deadlines and increased workloads. We've all experienced that feeling of being completely overwhelmed by the sheer volume of work and effort needed to complete a task. 

    One technique available to us is timeboxing. I first learnt of timeboxing at a University lecture discussing effective time management for our upcoming final year. I later studied timeboxing in terms of software development and its usefulness in delivering iterative and incremental system designs. Timeboxing necessitates that schedule deadlines determine the project features. Put simply, falling behind on the programme is not an option. 

    Timeboxing means allowing yourself a limited amount of time to complete a task and ensuring that under no circumstance will you go over this time. We can use timeboxing effectively in our everyday lives. For example, you need to buy a present for your mother-in-law and you know that this could lead to a great deal of procrastination with little to show for it. Instead, allow 30 minutes to find the perfect gift and commit to putting in the effort to achieve this goal. 

     Timeboxing is an equally useful technique to use on a project. In fact, I stuck religiously to my timeboxing schedule during my final year project at university. I also had a great motivation technique to use when feeling lost under piles of notes and diagrams and not really knowing where to begin to tackle the task ahead. Just 30 minutes of allocated time to embark upon a particularly difficult task can really make a difference to the completion deadline of the project. 

    Here is my list of why timeboxing really works:
    • It makes a project less off-putting as the content is reduced down to realistic goals
    • It assists in determining what is actually achievable in a task or project
    • Timeboxing eliminates procrastination which swallows so much of our time   
    • It facilitates incremental software development reduces the risk associated with large scale system development 

    With the help of time management techniques like this we'll soon find ourselves saying "So much time, and so little to do".

    Fiona

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