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How to Timebox your Life: Be happier and healthier

Updated on July 29, 2015

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

Quality Time with Husband
Play with dogs
Practice guitar
Study German

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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