Do you sometimes start your day feeling positive and energised about what you want to get done but by the end of the day frustrated because you haven’t managed to do as much as you wanted to? I know from your tweets, emails and comments that you feel me on this – we have so much we want to get done and just not enough time to do it all.

And that’s sparkle-sapping, right?

I’m ALL about staying sparkly, so I’m sharing the system I use to organise my time that can make you more productive and successful, that works whether you use a planner, a diary, your phone or just if you make notes and that allows you to create traction on a number of projects at the same time. (Yup there’s a free handout too, natch.)

What about being focussed?

Whoa! I know what you’re thinking, we’re always told we need to focus, focus, focus to get things done. But I think multitasking has had a bad rap. Being a multi-tasker like this actually makes me more successful – it even makes me happier – because of one thing. It gives me a sense of ACHIEVEMENT. It also actually makes me more focussed on one task at a time, instead of getting distracted or trying to hop between them like the Duracell bunny.

Whether you’re a SAHM, a WAHM, an employee or a business owner, being a busy mama means having a lot on your goals sheet and your to-do list. But what we don’t have a lot of is time.

Here’s where timeboxing helps me and it’s helping others too:

“Yes! Yes! Yes! Thank you for this article Michelle Reeves! Timeboxing is just what I need in my business. Great article too and love your handouts.” – HEATHER HIGGINS from HeathersFitKitchen

“Used ‘timeboxing’ this morning – really made me consider making my to do list more manageable and encouraged me to focus knowing I had set myself a timeframe, thanks again 😀” – Sarah Bacchus

How to use timeboxing to boost your productivity

So what is timeboxing?

Timeboxing is a simple time-management technique that huge software houses and consulting businesses use to get traction on their projects. Simply put it means chunking up the time you have to cover the tasks you have.

Sounds simple, right? But here’s the thing. If you’re a perfectionist like me (hello do-over) then timeboxing can be a challenge. I want to do everything that I put my mind to 100% perfectly. It’s in my nature, always has been. But that perfectionism was KILLING my sense of achievement (and my success) because I was spending too much time on just one thing and not gaining momentum across all my projects.

Timeboxing makes me put my perfectionism to one side for a while so that I can concentrate on moving forward with tasks and feel a sense of success every day.

Here’s how it works

So let’s get into it.

Let’s say you have a block of 3 hours in a day that you can use get things done. Perhaps your kids are at school or nursery, or it’s time you have in the evening. That’s your available time. Now let’s say you have 3 projects that you’re working on. You’re going to split up your 3 hours into chunks of time apportioned to each task.

1. At the beginning of hour #1 set yourself a timer on your phone or in your browser for 1 hour. And get to work on project #1.

2. When the timer goes off you’re going to stop. STOP! Even if you haven’t finished.

3. You’re going to take a minute to makes some quick notes on where you are with your project and what you need to do next.

4. Then you restart your timer and get to work on project #2.

Rinse and repeat.

I want to be really clear here that when I’m using timeboxing I don’t FINISH all of my tasks. But I do MOVE FORWARD on them and make some killer notes on what I want to do next time I’m at my desk.

Importantly I step away feeling like I’ve achieved something in that time. And I’m excited to get back to my desk again next time because taking small steps forward like this makes my big hairy goals feel more achievable. I feel that I’m moving towards getting them done, one timebox at a time.

If you feel like you have too much to do and not enough time to do it all, you can get procrastination paralysis! It’s also easy to get distracted by the lovely time-waster that is the Internet. But because you’re literally ‘on the clock’ timeboxing can make you more productive on the task at hand because it literally fools your brain into focusing!

Grab your free handout

Could timeboxing work for you? Download this free handout – it’s a timeboxing schedule planner and cheatsheet – and give it a go. I’d love to know if it boosts your productivity and your sense of achievement… leave a comment below x

Michelle Reeves