Time Boxing: How It Helps Freelancers
Doing freelance work means doing things on your own terms. It also means you alone are in charge of your time. This is a good work set up if you were, at some point, able to work at companies that have stressful leadership. Being a freelancer can give you so much freedom and flexibility when it comes to your work schedule. But along with this seemingly too-good-to-be-true nature comes the possibility of not being able to successfully control and make proper use of your time. Since there is no boss or supervisor to take note of your time and productivity, there is a big likelihood that you will be tempted to procrastinate, lose focus, or even end up having a lower productivity rate than when you were employed in a company. This is where time boxing, a very powerful yet simple time management technique, can help you out.
Procrastination is one of the biggest enemies of a freelancer. It often strikes when a big task or a major project is looming ahead of us. Time boxing can effectively eliminate this. It starts out by allowing you to plan your day ahead. You can spend the first few minutes of your work day setting aside time for each of your tasks. You might even consider it fun and almost non-work related, but you will notice that your first few minutes of planning your day is already work itself. You even end up with an organized work day, with each task set up for the number of hours or minutes that you intend to work on them.
Closely related to procrastination is losing focus. This often happens when you’re distracted from your tasks. How? By spending more time on social networking sites, online gaming, and generally non-work related stuff. This is disastrous when your distraction has led you to end up not being able to do anything at all throughout the day.
Time boxing technique allows you to make “deadlines” for each task in terms of minutes and hours. This gives you the opportunity to focus short amounts of time on certain tasks without the goal of finishing them. The concern is just to spend enough time on the tasks per day, no pressure to finish them. It might seem like a lousy technique but this is where the technique shines best. Notice how short your attention span can be? Too often, 8 hours of work burns us out. What we need is short amounts of time that will allow you to really focus on the task at hand.