As week five just passed by, we have finished our fifth Friday Kick-Off Project, where we are given a task at 9am on each Friday morning, and need to deliver a presentation at 3pm on that day. The learning through these experience is invaluable to me, among which the most important lesson for me is to use Time Boxing strategies to plan my time to finish the tasks. With the limited amount of time available, time boxing is critical in delivering a good presentation. Here are some information about Time Boxing and some advise that I get through reflection, which is not only helping me with these Friday projects, but also all other tasks in general.

First, what is time box?

Time boxing is a time management technique that involves allocating a fixed amount of time, known as a time box, to complete a specific task or set of tasks. The time box creates boundaries to ensure that work is accomplished within the designated timeframe. Time boxing emphasizes the importance of setting realistic expectations and actively managing time rather than succumbing to procrastination or the trap of endless work.

Next, how can we implement Time Boxing?
  1. Identify Tasks: Begin by listing all the tasks you need to complete. Be specific and break down larger tasks into smaller, more manageable subtasks.
  2. Determine Time Boxes: Assign realistic time frames for each task. Consider your energy levels, the complexity of the task, and other factors that may impact the time required. Once the allocated time finished, wrap up and move on to the next box with what you have got.
  3. Set Priorities: Prioritize your tasks based on their importance and urgency. Allocate time boxes accordingly, giving more time to higher priority tasks, and the tasks that other tasks are dependent on.
  4. Stay Disciplined: Once you begin a time box, commit to completing the task within the allocated time. Avoid the temptation to extend the time box unless absolutely necessary.
And here are some tips on how to do so:
  • Seek Help if you are stuck, and do it early enough. If you need to find your resources in the first hour, ask for help by the end of the time boxing slot, so that you can have enough time handling other tasks for your presentation. This is the whole point of time boxing.
  • Block the Time Box for preparing your presentation. Try avoiding working till the last minutes and running straight into presentation. It’s always nice to add more details in your work or polishing it a bit more before deadline, but it’s even more important to make sure you can explain your ideas and work clearly so the audience can get it. Your audience cannot read your mind and magically figure out what your work is about as you show them. As a result, stop at a certain time and wrap up what you have done, and carefully rehearse and plan your presentation to elaborate your work.
  • Reflect on your project each time after you finish. Note down what worked well and what did not, and pay special attention to how your time management worked. As you do the reflection constantly, you will get a clearer idea about how much time you need to allocate for a certain task, what is the realistic scale of work for the time that is given, and what is the right time to reach out for help.
  • Take challenges as ideas for further iteration if they could not be addressed within the time frame, and address them if needed. It is beneficial to view them as opportunities for improvement and growth. Rather than being discouraged, consider challenges as valuable feedback that can inspire fresh ideas and spur you to iterate and refine your approach for even better results. Embracing challenges with an iterative mindset allows you to learn from setbacks and continuously evolve, ultimately leading to greater success.

To conclude, time boxing is a powerful technique that helps us achieve goals effectively. By implementing this method, you can develop a disciplined approach to managing your time. Embrace the concept of time boxing, set your priorities, and experience the sense of accomplishment that comes from accomplishing tasks within defined time frames. Make the most of your time, boost your productivity, and unlock your true potential.

The Data School
Author: The Data School