The Darkside of Timeboxing

11 Dec

Time Boxing
In my last post I wrote about the benefits of timeboxing with battling procrastination and keeping yourself on track. This article will cover some of the pitfalls of timeboxing that you can, hopefully, avoid now that you’ve been blessed to read these insightful words of wisdom. Onward!

Negatives to timeboxing and how to beat them:

Timeboxing, even with the best intentions can be sabotaged and turned into a whole different creature. Below are some of the things I think are important to note.

Problem Area



  • You dwell on a project for so long and refuse to let go of it after your timebox period is done.
  • You’ve lost sight of the goal of timeboxing; short bursts of work. You need to set a period where you will stop working on a project and move on to something else.
  • However, I would argue that if you’re having fun on a project and that project is a high-impact, high-priority task then keep going by all means and don’t break the momentum.
  • Setting your timer with an annoying, disruptive buzzer sound will help with this(at least it helps a little for me).
Blurry Ideas of Priority
  • You have a list of tasks to do, but you have a hard time deciding which are priority or not.
  • You don’t complete tasks in priority order.
  • You risk doing a lot of little, nonsense tasks and avoiding the big heavy hitters.
  • This is another form of procrastination!
Over Timeboxing
  • You have almost everything in you day timeboxed.
  • You have over 80% of your day scheduled as work.
  • Over timeboxing will lead you to burnout quickly. When I started using this about two years ago I did just that. The result wasn’t pretty.
  • Take a look at your study habits. Maybe you can improve there to save time too.
  • Take breaks where you are not doing anything work related!
  • You know timeboxing can be good for you, but you can’t seem to summon the motivation to take that first step.
  • Procrastination gets everyone at one time or another. Learn to deal with it and be flexible.
  • Do the smallest, easiest task possible first to get that ball rolling.
  • Give yourself a reward after finishing a task or a particularly difficult timebox. (Carrot vs the stick, eh?)

Hopefully some of these ideas will help you to avoid the pitfalls you can meet while timeboxing. So what about you? Have you tried out timeboxing yet? Did you have a different experience than you thought you would with timeboxing? Did you try it only to give it up? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

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Posted by on December 11, 2010 in Motivational, Study Tips


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