Timeboxing: A Checkin

blocks on the floor

Time for a check-in. Time to be held accountable for an experiment, nay, a change in managing work. A couple of months ago, I began experimenting with timeboxing my efforts. Big or small, I wanted to timebox them all. That write-up can be found here.

So far, the experiment has been successful. Like everything, it could have been better—so adjustments are incoming. What about has been successful? The cliff notes:

  • Increased feeling of accomplishment as tasks close
  • It requires thought to what I should be doing for the day and what does not
  • Focus your attention on value add actions
  • Keeps mind centered on the priority of work
  • A consistent reminder that time is not infinite
  • Solidifies the idea of incremental improvements
  • Forces thought execution to maximize effectiveness
  • Container for tasks that arise but do not need immediate attention

All of the above have greatly improved the overall feeling of work and accomplishment at the end of the day. This prioritization of daily activities has decreased the sense that the day was not as successful as work is incomplete. Overall, this has been a successful experiment.

The first change I will implement is a mid-day check-in around lunchtime. The morning's questions tend to pile up, leaving the others around me with open questions. The adjustment to the process is to prioritize just after lunch, before jumping into the afternoon client work, to answer all the open questions. This change in approach also means that only urgent inquiries get prioritized during the morning focus session, leaving all others to the period just before the afternoon focus block.

The second change is to be more intentional with the timebox. When starting this experiment, I responded to messages from teammates, letting them know I would get back to them at the end of the timebox. Each time I fell off task, I would go home carrying the feeling of an incomplete day. In a short time, that just turned into me getting distracted from the task at hand.

I plan to continue this experiment. I am making the amendments above to increase the feeling of completeness at the day's end.