clock pile

All of this is part of being a unique human. Everyone is different. There are tools that you use and do not work for others. The means of the person next to you may not work for you. One time management device I have been aware of for quite some time but have been attempting more strictly as of late—is timeboxing efforts.

My flavor timeboxing is creating a short Kanban board. The work item is identified only by a title on a card (sticky note) and a time estimate in minutes. I keep an upper limit of five cards and an upper limit of 25 minutes per card. The highest priority item on the top of the stack, all others following after. This card generation and prioritization exercise takes at most 5 minutes. Next, it is time to kick off the first timeboxed effort. Of course, it starts by setting a timer to the number of minutes on the card.

While working on the effort, the goal is to remain on task for the duration of the timer. Unless completed before the timer rings. Staying on task means no stops to walk away for a glass of water and no quick phone checks. But what happens if the job is not complete when the timer rings? I have been trying some options here. The first option, continue until the job is done. I have exercised this option when I can see the end is near, no more than 10 minutes out. The other option is to schedule timebox number two for this task. Re-prioritizing the Kanban board each time an addition occurs.

Do you need help to stay on task? Do you find yourself polishing the work too much? Give this method a try to keep you on task. So far, I have been satisfied with my experience. It has helped me stop to figure out the most important item I could be working on now.