December 26, 2008
Timeboxing is a productivity technique where you give yourself a limited amount of time to complete a specific task. By creating a concrete deadline for doing a task we send a message to our brains to kick things into overdrive so that what needs to get done is completed in the time allotted.
You may have noticed this principle in effect whenever you’re on the last day of work before a much anticipated vacation. You definitely need to leave the office by a certain time to catch your plane to Tahiti, and there is nothing on this earth that will prevent you from leaving on time.
The problem is that you have a long list of tasks that you need to complete at the office before you can leave–what happens then?
Well, just speaking for myself I’ve noticed that when I have a tight deadline looming over my head (one that I refuse to miss, like that plane to Tahiti!), I will focus my attention like a laser beam and crank out the work in record time.
When there is a time limit in place, I can make decisions in record time, change tasks quite easily, organize my work more effectively, and focus on the task at hand blocking out any distractions.
When you have a concrete deadline you’re facing, you can sometimes do twice the amount of work as you usually would if you had no time restrictions in place at all.
That’s how timeboxing works–since we know that a tight deadline spurs us on to working faster and more efficiently, we can actually create deadlines for ourselves.
This productivity technique works for all sorts of activities–cleaning the house, doing errands, writing Christmas cards, getting projects done at work, and even writing articles.
However long it normally takes you to write an article, chances are that you can beat your usual time by a little or a lot by working timeboxing into your article writing routine.
1) Decide how much time you’ll allow yourself to write an article.
If it usually takes you an hour and a half, why not give yourself an hour? If it usually takes you an hour, then shoot for 45 minutes.
Be realistic though–you don’t want to make your time so short that there’s no possible way to reach your goal. That would be discouraging!
So, shoot for a little shorter than your usual time, and as you get faster and faster at article writing you can adjust your time as necesary.
2) Keep track of your time.
Some folks use a kitchen timer that counts down the minutes, others set an alarm clock to go off when their time is up, and some set their iPod to play music for a certain amount of time and then turn off when their time is up.
It doesn’t matter what time keeping method you use, but you need to have some accountability for the time you’ve allotted for writing your article.
I find that either an alarm clock or a kitchen timer really helps spur me on–I want to beat the deadline!
3) What if time runs out and you’re not finished?
Don’t be too hard on yourself–you’ll get faster with each time you use this technique. Just give yourself a certain amount of extra time to finish off the article (say 15 or 30 minutes) and set your timer again. Then, work like you’re on a mission!
After you’ve been using this technique for a while you’ll start to see your article writing efficiency improving. It’s sort of like training for an athletic event–you are building up your stamina and your ability to focus. By repeating this article writing exercise you will get faster and faster over time.
4) Let your article cool off, and then proofread!
One thing I want to stress though, is that we want to be sure to maintain our article writing quality while still improving our time. The goal is not to spend a shorter amount of time on an article only to have the quality diminish too.
The goal is to write an article of excellent quality (as usual), but to train your brain to focus like a laser beam so that you can make decisions more quickly and finish your article faster.
After you finish your article, be sure to give it a “cool off” period. Put it aside for at least 24 hours, and then when your mind is refreshed proofread your article. Reading your article with fresh eyes will allow you to catch any typos or spelling/grammar errors that you might have missed during your first writing session.
When your article is polished and error free, you’re ready to submit it!
Using timeboxing when writing your articles can be a big time saver–wouldn’t you like to submit your articles efficiently too? Steve Shaw created the web’s first ever 100% automated article distribution service, SubmitYOURArticle.com, which distributes your articles to hundreds of targeted publishers with the click of a button. For more information go to=> http://www.SubmitYOURArticle.com