Study Strategies: Time Boxing

Time boxing, or ‘Time Blocking’, is a highly effective time management technique that can help you make the most of your available time.

Understanding Time Boxing:

Time boxing involves creating time limits, or “boxes,” for different tasks or activities. Instead of working on a task until it’s completed or until you run out of time, you work for the amount of time you have given to that task. When your ‘time box’ session is finished, you move on to the next task, even if you haven’t finished the previous task. Worried about not finishing on time? Remember the Ziegarnik Effect? There are good reasons to leave work your work unfinished.

How to Use Time Boxing:

  1. Set Clear Goals: Start by identifying the tasks or activities you want to accomplish during your study session. Break down larger goals into smaller, manageable tasks that can be completed within a set time frame.

  2. Allocate Time Intervals: Create a “time box” for each task based on its importance and complexity. Use shorter time boxes for more focused or challenging tasks and longer intervals for easier activities.

  3. Focus on a Single Task: During each time box, focus only on the task at hand and avoid distractions or multitasking. Concentrate your efforts on making progress towards completing the task within the time you’ve given it.

  4. Take Breaks Between Boxes: After each time box, take a short break to rest and recharge before starting the next task. Use this time to stretch, hydrate, or engage in a brief relaxation activity to maintain energy and concentration throughout your study session.

  5. Review and Adjust: At the end of your study session, review your progress and assess how effectively you managed your time. Identify any areas where you struggled to stay within the time limits and adjust your approach for future sessions.

Benefits of Time Boxing:

  • Increased Productivity: Time boxing helps you prioritize tasks and use your time more efficiently.

  • Improved Focus: By focusing on one task at a time and eliminating distractions, time boxing helps you concentrate and reduces the likelihood of procrastination or task switching.

  • Enhanced Time Management Skills: Time boxing fosters better time management habits and encourages disciplined use of time, leading to greater efficiency and effectiveness in your study routine.

  • Reduced Stress: Breaking down tasks into manageable time intervals and taking regular breaks helps prevent burnout and reduces stress created by long periods of study.

Incorporating Time Boxing into Your Study Routine:

To incorporate time boxing into your study routine, consider the following tips:

  • Use a timer or stopwatch to track your time intervals and ensure adherence to the schedule.
  • Experiment with different time intervals to find what works best for you and your study habits.
  • Prioritize your tasks based on urgency and importance, allocating more time to high-priority tasks and shorter intervals to lower-priority ones.
  • Be flexible and willing to adjust your time boxing approach as needed to accommodate changes in your schedule or study priorities.

You can access a free Time Boxing Template like the one below here.

See also: The Ziegarnik Effect, the Pomodoro Technique, Interleaved Practice and Spaced Repetition.