February 20, 2019

Timeboxing is a productivity technique to carve out time for tasks

Timeboxing Productivity Meeting With Calendar

Timeboxing might be the key to unleash your productivity. According to Marc Zao-Sanders, the practice enables individuals and teams to improve work efficiency and help businesses move faster. The process is straightforward: move your to-do lists onto your calendar instead to see better results. The author attributes this to the fact that to-do lists can be overwhelming and often lead us to check off the easiest, but often least pressing tasks first. In contrast, adding items to a calendar forces us to prioritise and also visualise when tasks need to be handled. The principles are directly derived from Daniel Markovitz’s work which you should also check out if you want to turbocharge your work.

Five reasons why to-do lists don’t work

The reason why timeboxing is so popular is that to-do lists have 5 core flaws according to Zao-Sanders:

  • They have too many options on them, making it hard to pick tasks at times
  • We tend to gravitate towards simpler tasks
  • We rarely set time aside for important, but non-urgent tasks (things like learning)
  • Lists don’t provide context as to how much time you have readily available, unlike a calendar
  • Lists don’t have a commitment system because they can be ticked off whenever

These five reasons alone are enough for most people to move their lists straight to their calendars

The benefits of timeboxing

The timeboxing method, assuming it’s new to you, will help you improve your workflow significantly. The author provides five main reasons as to why this is the case, and why it worked for him:

  • It helps you position your work, quite literally. Seeing the boxes within a calendar space means you’ll be able to know which blocks are available for you to dedicate time to a task
  • It helps you work in teams and communicate better. Colleagues can track your calendar and will know when you are working on important tasks, leaving you more space to complete the work
  • It provides a record of your work. You can’t track to-do lists in a chronological way, but you can look back on a calendar
  • It helps you feel in control. Since you lock in time to do things, you’ll feel more in command of your tasks and deadlines
  • You’ll be a lot more productive by having to work through these steps


Our two cents

Whilst not revelational, timeboxing is definitely helpful for anyone looking to improve their output. The MAEKAN team are big proponents of Google Calendar which help us keep track of our time and work. We’ve also discussed how planning is crucial to business development in the long term, including in some of our MAEKAN Money Moves articles. Ultimately, it boils down to whatever you feel is best for you, and how you manage your work. Speaking from experience, there is never a right or wrong way of doing things; some techniques are perhaps just more optimal and conducive to getting you where you need to be. Give timeboxing a go and see if you notice any positive changes.

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