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    How Timeboxing Helps In Team Work?

    How Timeboxing Helps In Team Work?

    What Is Timeboxing?

    Timeboxing is an approach that focuses on allocating time to a different task. So it prioritizes the time and not specifically on the task.  It is a simple time management tool where you allocate a certain time to a certain task or set of tasks. When you do this, you work in a more concentrated manner and with a focused approach.

    There are different approaches to completing a particular task. Some people prefer multitasking, some prefer to concentrate on one work at a time, whereas some believe in the delegation of some work while managing the rest by themselves.

    Time boxing is very effective in managing your own task; with time boxing it becomes easier to handle a team and allocate tasks effectively. Furthermore this method ensures that you are not putting too much time to a task that can be done quickly if done in a concentrated way. It also ensures that a particular work is done only as much as is necessary. Overdoing something loses its essence and meaning. Timeboxing reminds you to do your work while keeping in mind the budget allocated for the same.

    How To Use Timeboxing To Schedule Your Day?

    There is a common saying that says that a day that started with laziness ends in laziness. For this reason you need to ensure that you remain productive for your entire day. Hence you need to make sure that you are getting proper rest and food. Here are a few steps to follow to organize your day with the help of time boxing:-

    #1. Get an idea in mind, regarding how much time should be allocated to each of your tasks in your to-do list, based on your previous experience. Don’t forget the include breaks and some extra time for unexpected interruptions that may come.

    #2. The second smart thing to do is to set a timer on your smartphone or laptop. Doing this can make you alert when the time set for a particular task finishes.

    #3. Allocate time wisely without putting too much pressure on yourself. While time boxing tasks if you feel that you require a break every 20 minutes, allow yourself that break. This way, you will do justice both to yourself and your work. Also, you feel more confident and enthusiastic to your work.

    #4. If you are not able to complete a particular task in the time set by you, ask yourself at the end of the day, why your task could not be completed. Next time allocate your time wisely.

    How To Use Timeboxing With Your Team

    As said earlier time boxing is for delegating the work to your team. Furthermore most companies have set deadlines to complete a particular task. Time boxing helps to get the work happen efficiently. Following the timeboxing technique with your team members, helps avoid problems such as procrastination, boosts productivity, and encourages multitasking.

    Prior to setting deadlines for your team members, a discussion with team members is essential. It is required so that he understands why it is essential, and how it can help in increasing their productivity. Set deadlines based on the working capacity of each individual.

    As soon as the time allocated for a task gets over, ensure that your team member/s stops working on that task and takes note of her progress regarding that particular task. Now assess a few questions: – did the team member/s finish the task on time? Was the time allocated properly? Is the team member satisfied with his/her achievement? If not what did he/she decide to do to improve it?

    Drawbacks Of Timeboxing

    Timeboxing method to manage your workload may not always be appropriate in every situation. For eg, some work may need urgent attention and completion and might consume the entire day sometimes, due to frequent interruptions, meetings, phone calls, etc. So, it is very important to understand when to use time boxing efficiently, and when not to use it. 

    Also, some jobs demand the best quality. Where a particular deadline is not given, so as to avoid compromise on quality. Moreover timeboxing can lead you to rush through the work, with a hurry of meeting the deadline, thereby leading to failure of the objective.

    Finally, it is very important to understand that you need to set appropriate lengths of time for your tasks. In order to create an impression, it is advisable not to work in haste. Many successful entrepreneurs have used time boxing as a tool to meet deadlines and achieve perfection in tasks, for eg. Elon Musk, celebrity CEO. Almost all successful people have used the timeboxing method to reach heights, and today they are known for the work done by them.

    Along with work, allocating proper time to yourself for your health, passion, and family is equally important. Timeboxing helps you be a smart worker both personally and professionally.

    How did time boxing help in Elon Musk’s success?

    Elon Musk, now also the current CEO of Twitter, recommends writing down all our tasks in a notepad, which needs completion. Out of those, the tasks which require urgent attention need to be segregated and put on the top of the to-do list, followed by the next, and so on. This method allows him to concentrate on the task at hand and prevents him from unnecessary multi-tasking.

    Why Should You Give Timeboxing A Try?

    Timeboxing has proved to be an important tool to increase productivity and helps people to work in an organized way. Today majority of the companies follow the target-incentive, model. That is if the set target is achieved on time. You are either get reward or get an incentive. This way work will be completed on time and your objectives will be met.

    Tips to Practice Timeboxing

    Timeboxing can is an effective tool. Initially, there will be a wrong allocation of time, and a lack of proper prioritization of tasks. Only with practice, it can be achieved perfectly. It is important to make a list of all your responsibilities and objectives first. Prioritize them based on the deadlines allocated for them. This will help you meet both your short-term and long-term goals.

    It can be started from home. At home, we perform different tasks, at different times, based on priority. If we make a list of all our tasks, time box them based on priority and try to deliver the work just as the time for each work gets over, then it becomes a good practice for us. Slowly and gradually we can use it for our work or profession as well.

     While you are practicing this method, it is very important to remember that time boxing is made use of to make us productive and our work qualitative. So, while doing a particular work, never think of the next work in hand and how it can be done. It is advisable to also not discuss it with anyone to avoid distraction.

    In current times, a lot of apps are available to help you make use of time boxing. This can make things even easier for you.

    How Timeboxing Works and Why It Will Make You More Productive?

    Firstly, time boxing allows relative positioning of your work. If you know that you have to deliver a task by next week, which requires 48 hours of work. You can mark the same in your calendar. You can well start the work 3 days prior to delivery, with ample time available even if you lag behind. This is how the time box works. It’s visual, intuitive, and obvious. Working hard and doing your best is sometimes not everything. Doing the right thing at the right time or being wise is the smarter option.

    Secondly, the practice makes communication transparent. Corporate companies ask each employee to share their task based on the date along with allocated time, before the start of a month. This way employees will take the organization and their work more seriously, with transparency between either party.

    Thirdly, it helps you review your work, all that you have done in a week, in a month, in a quarter, in the last six months.  In case you have missed any, it is there present in your calendar to remind you of it. Besides submitting a monthly calendar with tasks allocated to your employer, make sure you maintain a personal one with yourself, to keep track of what you are doing vs what you have done vs what more needs to be done.

    Fourthly, it makes us feel more in control of ourselves. Being in control gives us more happiness and motivation at work. Constant interruptions make us stressed and less productive. Timeboxing let us decide what to do, when to do and how to do it, avoiding all distractions. Consistent control and visible accomplishment are hugely satisfying and addictive.

    Fifthly, timeboxing makes us more productive, since there is already an intent set in mind that we need to complete it within time and that we are running short of time. This is Parkinson’s Law which states that we generally tend to work slower on tasks for which we believe that time is available at hand., spending more time on a task than is actually required for it.

    The benefits of synchronized time boxing are many but have been found to be really impactful. The more we achieve and meet our goals the more productive and perfect we become. It clearly comes at no cost but has so many benefits, we have already seen.

    How To Use Timeboxing To Start A Task You Procrastinated On?

    Sometimes we have to do a task we really don’t like or are interested in and so keep procrastinating them giving one or another reason. Hence Time boxing is really helpful in this.

    There is one interesting and sometimes beneficial psychological phenomenon all humans have, which is we want to finish an activity after we have started it. For example, if we have started watching a movie, in spite of not being good, we keep watching till the end. So, concluding it, although we did not want to watch the movie, we saw it till the end.

    The idea of timeboxing is that you start working on a task at just the exact moment that your calendar reminds you that it’s time to get the task done. Alternatively, if you know beforehand that you have to work on a task that you are procrastinating on for a long time, you can set 10 alarms to remind you that the task is pending till the time you decide to complete the work first and then move on to other tasks.

    Once you begin working on the task you have procrastinated on for so long, you’ll soon forget all the stress and resistance that existed before. This is a really useful method. If there is a bigger task or task that requires more time and detailed attention,  you can, for example, divide the task into many mini tasks, and focus on completing those mini-tasks first either by outsourcing to a company or yourself, thereafter taking a short break and completing another set of mini task,s and so on. This way, you will slowly and gradually finish the bigger task, and as you go forward with this process you will feel more satisfied, and productive of yourself.

    Additionally, you will continue working on the bigger task with much more ease, because you have already completed the first step. Alternatively, you can simply time-box a slot in your calendar to start working on the big task, work on it in for a few hours trying to get as far as possible, without pushing yourself too much.

    It might so happen that you create a flow of the task and do much more than you planned before. You just have to make sure that you don’t overdo or cross the time limits or budget assigned for the whole task and unnecessarily jeopardize things.

    Timeboxing Will Help You Set Strict Limits

    Being strict with yourself is the best way to create self-discipline for yourself. If you have set the intention for yourself to complete every task on time, then every task takes exactly the amount of time you devote to it. If you decide to spend two hours on a task instead of 10 hours, you will probably have to work in a more focused way, make sure to work on the important parts of the task, leave some details out, and so on.

    Whether it is your work or personal life, setting strict rules is always useful. After a span of 6 months or 1 year, you will to see the results yourself. Hence an organized and focused approach to life is always better as we know what we are doing, why we are doing it, and what the long-term consequences of it are. We also command much respect by following this approach by standing out from our competitors. Hence it shows that we respect our time and effort and expect others to follow the same. When dealing with customers following the timeboxing model, the negotiation becomes crispy and easier, with the other party getting the message loud and clear that output is all that matters.

    Which Scrum Events Require Timeboxing?

    The Sprint is a timebox of one month or less in which the scrum team delivers the Sprint goals.

    Timeboxing, as a tool, is used to define the length of the Sprint. At Scrum Inc., our Sprint timebox is one week and this is what is recommended to the teams that we coach.

    Sprint Planning: When a team launches, they establish the timebox for the Sprint Planning meeting, beforehand. Furthermore as noted in the Scrum Guide, a Sprint planning meeting should be timeboxed at 8 hours or less for a one-month Sprint.

    An important feature is Shorter the Sprint, the shorter will be the timebox for Sprint Planning. At Scrum Inc., we have recommended one-week Sprints and a two-hour timebox for Sprint Planning.

    Daily Scrum: The Daily Scrum is a timebox of 15 minutes for each 24-hour period that helps the Scrum team synchronize activities and make any impediments visible to achieving the Sprint Goal.

    Sprint Review: The Sprint Review is a timebox of four hours or less, for one-month Sprints. During the Sprint Review, Sprint Backlog items delivered during the sprint are well demonstrated and inspected. It also adapts the backlog based on feedback.

    Sprint Retrospectives: The Sprint Retrospective is a timebox of three hours or less for a one-month sprint. This is an event in which the team will inspect itself and identify a process improvement that the team will implement in the following sprint.

    Organize Your Calendar Better With Time Boxing

    With time boxing, you can efficiently organize and standardize your calendar. There are two very useful ways to use time boxing.

    #1. deciding when and

    #2. how much time you will spend on email;

    #3. when and how many meetings you will have.

    The main factor of time boxing is that, you will have complete control over your time. Hence you will think in advance about which of your work requires immediate intervention and you make sure you are really spending your time on those things. Moreover with time boxing, you set strict limits in your calendar assigning tasks each hour, each day, each week etc. Hence you should make sure you never cross them.

    In the same way, you can time box different activities, like lunchtime to make sure your body gets the nutrition. You can also time box activities that you can also group together. This includes sales meetings, video conferences, sales calls, visits, discussions, execution and so on.

    You can even time-box different types of activities. This includes brainstorming, having personal hour of power for reading, spending time with your kids, or even having a no-interruptions. Meetings are usually non-productive time, but from time to time they can still prove to be important. It is important when you need people to agree on something or wish to deliver message to group of people.

    If you decide to have a meeting with your clients and it’s not quite creative, time boxing can help you set a strict limit in order to stop a meeting from turning into an unnecessary time-wasting, energy-draining activity. When arranging a meeting, you should send the starting and ending hours to all the invitees, as well as the main desired points to be discussed in the meeting and the objective behind the same. Also, the exact number of people who are needed to attend the meeting also needs to be communicated to avoid unnecessary crowds and noise.  

    Having strict deadlines for meeting will help keep people focused and prevent them from bringing about other unproductive topics. For this reason main benefit of time boxing is to increase awareness of time. This is done in order to complete the task so that people take organization’s time and effort more seriously.

    Importance of Timeboxing in Agile Software Development

    In agile software development, there are several types of meetings that are fixed and basically, timeboxed in advance – through the whole project period, with no exception. They happen at the same intervals with the same type of agenda. That’s also one way of time boxing in practice. Moreover unnecessary bragging or intervening in between is strictly not allowed. Any questions that you may have can be mailed to the concerned person once the meeting gets over.

    Software companies work on strict timings and follow strict deadlines. Since these companies require working in close detail, with extreme focus and concentration. Time boxing is very important for them so as to maintain the flow of work. Moreover a single distraction may prove to be very harmful to these companies.

    Delegating Tasks to Virtual Assistants is Another Timeboxing Technique

    When an entrepreneur would start delegating tasks to virtual assistant companies or a freelancer, it does save time that could be channelized to something deserving a bit more priority.

    A VA knows how to prioritize tasks based on the timetable given, the deadline to be precise. He or she is trained to maintain timeboxing techniques to process work. Usually, when it comes to managing tasks, any entrepreneur could rely on them and leverage their skills to finish tasks such as data entry, administrative work, business research, IT support, and appointment booking to name a few.

    Siddhartha Basu

    Siddhartha Basu is a Technical Writer at Task Virtual. He loves online games, e-book reading, and Yoga.