Have you ever wondered about finding an effective time management skill? While living our day to day life, we have a lot of work at hand and we struggle to complete it on time. While we all have 24 hours a day, every individual completes different targets in the specified time and have different efficiency each day. This difference in the way of living is due to the distinct understanding of time by every individual.
Some of us are busy wasting time by procrastinating and piling the work at hand and end up losing it all, whereas the others believe in completing the day’s work the same day and achieving more in the time left. While we have earlier also talked about how important time is in all your lives, it is always necessary that we understand the importance of time and learn to manage it with utmost care and precision.
Alexis Carrel had mentioned that the most efficient way to live reasonably is every morning to make a plan of one’s day and every night to examine the results obtained.
While preparing for any examination like GATE or ESE, this problem escalates and we find ourselves struggling in managing our studying with time. The examination has a huge syllabus which one has to study, complete, revise, remember and also practice to become perfect at any subject. We are unable to manage our study time equally in all the subjects and topics and miss out on some topics during the examination. Well the one solution to this is Time Management.
Time Management is the planning and exercising of conscious control of time spent on specific activities. Time Management techniques are mainly used to increase effectiveness, efficiency, and productivity. There are various time management techniques but the one that has always been most effective and has yielded maximum productivity is ‘Time Boxing’.
What is Time Boxing?
It is a very simple yet effective Time Management strategy which makes one’s work easy and more efficient. The idea behind this time management technique is to allocate specific time. It maybe the number of hours or days called ‘time box’ to every activity well in advance and then complete the activity in the given time frame only. The time allotted to each work is not done randomly but instead done based on how important it is, how lengthy it is and how urgent it is.
This time management technique unlike others encourages one to focus more on the time than on the task at hand. Now this technique may sound easy but may be difficult to actually put it into use. So let us now look into how one can achieve the mastery of time boxing technique of effective time Management.
Mastering Time Boxing
- List down your to-do list: Before starting any work or time management technique it is extremely important that you enlist all the work that you have to complete. Right from the tiniest work of maybe getting your shoe polished to the maximum of completing a test all must be enlisted in this list. To make your task easier, always carry a diary or download an app where you can write all the tasks you have to do as and when they come up. This will help you in making a time table and allotting your time box to various tasks. So once all your tasks and activities have been enlisted move on to the next step.
- Divide your list: Depending on the importance of each task allocate some specific sign to them. This will help you segregate the important task from the less important ones. During time boxing this separation will help you in determining how much time you require to allot to each task. So allocating specific signs to each task is your code of how important a task is for you. Now after you have divided your list based on importance and urgency move on to the next step.
- Allocate time: Now of all the task you have mentioned in your list allocate time to each one keeping in mind the sign or code you allotted to each in previous step. The time necessarily does not have to be in hours or minutes. In can also be in days or weeks. It is advisable that you use the time boxing technique as a weekly cycle so that you can revise your allotted time if necessary on a weekly basis.
So allocate the time to each task depending on how long each item on your To-Do List or Action Program will take to complete, and allocate a set amount of time to each one. Another important thing to be kept in mind when allocating time is to not make the plans impractical. Therefore do not forget to include breaks, and build in contingency time for unexpected requests or interruptions.
- Time yourself: Only making a plan and allocating time will not help. Make sure to follow the routine in the format mentioned. For keeping a track that the process is followed time yourself through a timer on your computer or phone. Make sure that you do not by any chance miss out on the timeline you have allotted for each work. Missing out on one timeline will disrupt the entire plan and you will back to basic form of not practicing the time boxing technique.As soon as the time is over you must close the task and start with a new one. Initially you may face some problems, but later your mind will get used to this schedule and it will be a piece of cake for you. For effective management of this technique you can also us the Pomodoro Technique. This is also a form of time boxing time management technique which involves working for timed segments followed by a short break.These timed segments will depend on how long you can sit continuously in one sitting, you can start with 25-30 minutes and later increase the time to your suitability. One can also skip the breaks if you are engrossed deeply in a task but avoid doing it very frequently. These breaks will help energize you and return to work with more energy and enthusiasm.
- Review your progress:Once you have completed one day or a week following this technique review your progress and your efficiency by analyzing what you have accomplished. This will encourage you to perform better next time and also help you forming more efficient plan the next time as you get a knack into how the time must be allotted to each task at hand.Find out the reasons you could not accomplish some task that you were supposed to and pat your back for the tasks you have completed. Also to encourage yourself to keep up the work you are doing you can reward yourself after the completing of one time boxing schedule.
Practicing the time boxing technique on a daily or weekly basis will actually increase your yield and efficiency and before you know you will master your studying time to the best of your ability. Now while we have talked about how to use the TimeBoxing technique, let us now see how effective the technique is and how it can yield you the best results.
Benefits of Time Boxing:
- Control of life:We sometimes tend to get so involved with all the work in hand that we lose control of our lives. This TimeBoxing technique apart from providing you stipulated time for each activity also encourages you to take much needed breaks from time to time so that you have proper control of your life and do not miss out on anything.
- Positioning of work:With the time boxing technique one actually gets control over the work in hand and you can efficiently position your work based on your preference and urgency. With a methodology all our work goes hay wire and we are unable to concentrate on any particular task. With the immense syllabus of the GATE and ESE examination sometimes the students get lost under the piles of books and cannot find a way out.They are confused where to start with what to complete, how to plan their studies and the other things in life. TimeBoxing provides you a path out of the confusion as it gives you control of your life and work. Based on the syllabus and previous trend one can actually plan their studies through the TimeBoxing technique and keep all the worry out of the way.
- Communicate and collaborate more effectively:While studying many students study alone whereas some of them prefer to study in a group. In this case one can practice this TimeBoxing techniques with their fellow colleagues and all can follow a particular plan. This will help them to communicate and work together more effectively as everyone will be on the same mode of preparation.One can also inline these time allotments to your coaching classes so that you stay updated with both the classes and the books. During the time of revision and practice, this technique will help you practice the questions papers in the allotted time period which will help you in gaining marks in the final examination. The TimeBoxing technique prepares you for the examination retrospectively.
- Comprehensive record of what you’ve done:By analyzing and reviewing you work through the time boxing techniques one actually gets a comprehensive record of how you have been performing and what you have done. This review will help you in becoming more organized and learn faster in the given time Thus the time boxing time management techniques makes one more efficient in the future along with providing you the best results.
- More productive:When something huge comes up our brain has trained itself to switch off and procrastinate everything new. Well the Time boxing techniques believes in timely completion of work without compromising on the result and keeping yourself motivated.
- Timely completion of work:With specific time allotted to each work, one does not have lot of time to leave the work for later. Thus this technique helps in timely completion of work in the most efficient and desired way. While preparing also time boxing will help you complete your syllabus in time sparing you with enough time to revise an practice the questions which will add to your preparation and score you marks in the final examination.
- Result driven:The aim or goal while taking a task at hand is to complete it. Well, through time boxing you ensure that your work is completed on time in the most efficient way possible. Along with that it also helps you keep a track of your performance and ensures improvement in every step. When all your topics and subjects are completed in time during the preparation. It will give you enough time to revise all that you have studied.Also allotting specific time to each subject will make a huge difference in your learning speed and you will realize that earlier for a topic you took 1 hour can now be completed in just 30 mins with more efficiency and concentration. This ensures good marks and rank in your exam as you will remember everything that you read without wasting time in sitting and wondering what the answer is. Thus this time management skill is result driven and ensures that you use your hard work and knowledge to your best capacity.
- Boost Motivation:A slow and inefficient working technique always delays our task and decreases our motivation and confidence. Whereas a good time management skill will ensure that your task is completed on time giving you the confidence to keep moving which boosts your confidence. When we keep delaying reading a particular subject or completing the questions of the topic already studied, we realize before the exam that we have very less time in hand and a lot of syllabus still needs to be completed.Such situations lower your confidence and you start getting nightmares of having a bad exam day. Well to avoid that the simple solution to this is to manage your time well, right from the start of the preparation. The best technique to keep you motivated by utilizing the most of your time is TimeBoxing.
- Overcome procrastination:Procrastination is avoiding the task that is needed to be completed and TimeBoxing is actually allotting time to the task needed to be completed. Therefore, time boxing helps you overcome procrastinating by actually taking up the task in hand and completing it once and for all.
TimeBoxing also raises awareness regarding time. When we work on a given task without taking time into consideration we end up taking one full day in completing a subject which could have been completed in maybe 2 hours.
Thus through TimeBoxing we become aware of the time which helps us in managing it well. When we divide the task not only on the basis of their importance but also on the basis of time and allot a specific deadline for its completion it stimulates our mind to be more aware of the time and thus works in completing the task sincerely on time.
TimeBoxing techniques aims to improve your productivity by making you aware of the task and time. Thus together provides a perfect synthesis to ensure that your productivity increases and you achieve your goal with the best results. All the students who are preparing for the examination must try to implement this technique in their daily schedule as it would not only help them in completing the syllabus on time, it will also make them more organized and disciplined which is a quality that will help them be a leader in their career. Time is a very precious resource that is non-renewable so box your time before it slips out of your hand.