We all struggle to get more done. We all feel scattered all the time. At my company, we call it “stretched too thin”. Im sure it has many names. In short, you feel like you aren’t getting done what you need to get done. There are just too many irons in the fire and you can’t possibly get to them all.
One way to alleviate this feeling is to guarantee you spend at least some time every day on each of your responsibilities.
Enter habitual timeboxing.
Habitual timeboxing is creating dedicated 30 or 60 minute periods for each of your responsibilities that are repeated either every day, or at some frequent cadence. During each timebox, you are only allowed to work on whatever that timebox is for.
For example - I have two sprint teams that both have a number of projects ongoing at any given time. I was feeling like I was falling behind on managing those projects. In response - I created two daily 30-minute blocking calendar invites for myself. This ensured I always had the time available. In the first 30 minute timebox, I catch up on the projects for sprint team 1. I do not allow for distractions or work on something else. In the second 30 minute window, I do the same for the other sprint team.
I’ve repeated this same process for a number of my other responsibilities, resulting in about 4 hours a day of repeating timeboxes.
This habit of dedicating time to each responsibility means I am always moving forward on the things I need to do. Do I move them forward as much as I would like? Well no. The short time blocks do leave you wanting more. However, it’s infinitely better than not doing anything at all and hoping to catch up in one big push later in the week. I’ve found this rarely is possible.
The incremental progress adds up over time.