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How to Timebox your Life: Be happier and healthier

Updated on July 29, 2015
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What is Timeboxing?

Timeboxing is a principle used in agile software development. It means that you perform tasks with a specific start and end time. Since there is a time limit, it helps you focus which will increase your productivity and effectiveness.

When timeboxing an activity, it is essential to set it to the right amount of time: if the time allocated is too small, no significant work will get done even if you are focused and dedicated; if it is too large, there will be no pressure to finish it until you reach the deadline.

Learn How to Timebox at Home

While I learned the technique of timeboxing for work, I tend to use it most often at home. Another important rule of timeboxing is that when you have reached the end time, you STOP. This truly helps me make the most efficient use out of my time and tackle tasks that I either don't want to do or sometimes feel too exhausted to do. I work full-time and have a lot of commitments outside of work. Yet, there are several things in life that if I don't do them, I will lie awake at night and be upset with myself over. For this reason, I commit to spending 15 minutes each day on them.

I love checklists since they help keep me on target and remember what I've done. So when timeboxing, I will set the timer and perform each item on my checklist until the timer runs out. See example below.

Home Timebox Checklist

Task
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
Sunday
Clean/Organize
Quality Time with Husband
Play with dogs
Practice guitar
Study German
Exercise

Try it Out..What do you have to lose?

Please understand me that just because I have a task of spending 15 minutes a day with my husband, that I'm not saying that the chore is difficult or that is the only time I spend with him. I'm just saying that minimum amount of time is important for me to do each day. With all of the items on my list, it is 1.5 hours of a commitment each day and then I spend the rest of the time doing whatever I please...which often includes time with my husband!

I encourage you to at least give this a shot. Start by asking yourself "What things am I passionate about?", "What things are important to my well-being, but often get cut out when I feel like I am low on time?", "What things keep me awake at night wishing I'd done more of them?"

If this works at all for you, please let me know. Good luck!

Timeboxing Resources and Suggested Reading

Here are two books I've read this past year which have really changed my life. They are quick and easy reads.

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    • Mardi profile image

      Mardi 5 years ago from Western Canada and Texas

      This is a great concept. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thrifty Lady profile image
      Author

      Thrifty Lady 5 years ago

      Thanks Mardi! I'm so glad you like it.

    • profile image

      EvansP 5 years ago

      This is a great idea. I have some many things to juggle in my life, I feel there just aren't enough hours in the day to do everything. Think I'll give this a try and see if I can squeeze some more time out of each day!

      Great post!

    • Thrifty Lady profile image
      Author

      Thrifty Lady 5 years ago

      Thanks EvansP. Please let me know if the idea works for you!

    • profile image

      kelleyward 5 years ago

      I'm very interested in learning more about this concept. I voted this up and shared it on Stumbled on! Thanks

    • Thrifty Lady profile image
      Author

      Thrifty Lady 5 years ago

      That's awesome Kelley! I hope that the suggested additional resources are helpful to you, but please let me know if you have any questions.

    • sunbun143 profile image

      sunbun143 5 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Very cool concept...I find myself multitasking instead, which seems the opposite of this strategy, but it couldn't hurt to try. Although, I've got to always 100% of the time make sure my kids are safe before trying to do anything else on my (long) list!

    • Thrifty Lady profile image
      Author

      Thrifty Lady 5 years ago

      Sunbun, I absolutely relate to the desire to multitask, but I'm trying my hardest to break the habit. I've been reading some interesting studies lately on multitasking. Some say it isn't scientifically possible, others say it is just not as product, while others encourage the idea of multitasking. I hope to do a hub about it soon...if I can compile the massive amount of data :)

    • profile image

      strongereveryday 4 years ago

      This seems like a simple but very effective way to discipline yourself to spend a little time each day on the things you value most or that will best promote your personal goals. I have also read about a similar system called "chunking". But whatever you choose to call it, those small boxes of time, when used consistently, can add up to HUGE accomplishments. A good reminder for all of us, Thrifty Lady!

    • Thrifty Lady profile image
      Author

      Thrifty Lady 4 years ago

      Thank you so much for stopping by strongeveryday. I have heard of "chunking" as well and absolutely agree that little pieces of time add up!

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