There’s a common saying that states that the work we need to complete will expand and fill the time available for its completion. For example, if you allocate six weeks to a job, no matter whether you can finish it faster, you’ll subconsciously finish at the end of the 6 weeks.
If you run a business, this can lead to a lack of productivity and may see staff become lethargic and lazy in their work.
To prevent this, you could implement a technique called timeboxing that can help maximise the time spent on tasks. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about this goal-oriented time management technique.
What is timeboxing?
In simple business terms, timeboxing is where managers allocate a fixed time period to a planned activity. Staff will then work on the activity during this fixed time period and stop working on it once the time is up. The business will then assess whether the planned goals have been reached.
What’s the difference between time blocking and timeboxing?
Time blocking and timeboxing are similar in concept and both involve allocating fixed time periods to activities. But, while time blocking includes reserving time for an activity, timeboxing includes limiting the time the business spends on it.
How do I implement timeboxing in my business?
Implementing timeboxing often involves the following steps:
- Find suitable tasks for timeboxing
- Define what the business wants to achieve from these tasks
- Set the time limit for completing the tasks and allocate staff
- Work on the task during the set time period
- Assess the results
Let’s have a look at each step in a little more detail:
a. Finding suitable tasks
In general, you can select any task you want and allocate it to a timebox, but some tasks are more suited to timeboxing. These include:
- Tasks that staff have no motivation to do. These are usually overwhelming tasks that will take a lot of time and effort to complete.
- Tasks businesses would prefer to not spend too much time on. These are usually necessary but unpleasant tasks you don’t want to spend too much time on.
- Complicated tasks. These are often larger projects that can be split up into a series of smaller tasks.
b. Define what you want to achieve from the tasks
Once a business has picked the tasks they want to use timeboxing on, they need to think about what they would like to accomplish with them, and in what time.
c. Set a time limit and allocate staff
Once a business has decided on the task they want to tackle, and the goals they want to reach by tackling it, it’s time to allocate a time period to the task and the staff needed to complete it.
Decide when the task will start and end and assess how many staff members you need to complete it within this timeframe.
d. Work on the task
This may be the simplest step, getting staff working on the task. Get them to record the work they complete and the times they work.
e. Assess the results
Once the end period of the timeboxing is reached, it’s time to get staff to down tools and assess what they have achieved.
If they have reached all their goals, fantastic, you can move on to another task. If goals are still outstanding, you may want to set up another timebox to finish the job.
What are the benefits of timeboxing?
Overall, timeboxing tasks brings many benefits to the workplace, these include:
a. You will be able to get unpleasant tasks out of the way
There are always tasks in every business that staff will never look forward to. But allocating short time periods for employees to blast through them will make them less scary or boring.
b. Easier project management
The timeboxing technique makes it easier for breaking down projects and getting each individual part completed in a timely fashion.
Having clear goals in mind makes it easier for employees to focus on the tasks given to them allowing them to work more efficiently and increase the productivity of the company.
c. It allows more efficient task prioritization
Not all tasks are equally important. While timeboxing businesses can categorize tasks based on their importance and give priority to them, which could bring more value and productivity to the business.
d. Better progress tracking
Timeboxing can help businesses to keep track of the progress of work as it keeps timeframes simple with specific start and end dates and set goals. Tasks that are running behind can be spotted easily and staff reallocated to help with pinch points.
e. More motivation for the workforce
When staff have a specific deadline to finish a task, they will often work more efficiently to reach that goal. Without a timeframe, staff may keep delaying work or procrastinating which can affect the overall productivity of the business.
Any tips for implementing timeboxing?
The biggest tip we can give any business looking at utilizing timeboxing, is to make sure they have the right tools to implement it successfully. Here at Papershift we provide a suite of time management tools that will allow businesses to set up timeboxing, track the time spent on tasks in real time, and then analyse whether goals are being reached.
While the benefits of timeboxing extend well past increased productivity, it can’t be argued that productivity spills into many organizational goals. As employees learn the discipline of working toward project completion through timeboxing techniques, they naturally become more efficient and productive, especially if they have strict time scales to adhere to.
As a business, free your teams from the unsustainable avalanche of to-do lists with the help of our best-selling time management software. Timeboxing costs nothing to implement and, with the right tools, has the potential to transform the way your organization approaches tasks and project management.
- Clock in and out from browser
- Time tracking via Phone & Tablet app
- View & approve time records online
- Export timesheets to payroll
- View & approve staff vacation requests
- Overview of employee availability & absences