Time-Box Your Day
August 5, 2021
To help me manage my many life goals, I practice time-boxing, setting aside chunks of time daily towards three specific areas of my life.
- My Work and
- My Relationships
Time-boxing my day into small chunks of time dedicated to each of these domains helps me authentically focus on being the person I want to be-good at work, good with my relationships, and good with myself.
As an example, daily meditation is important for me. I don’t leave it to chance. I set aside 30 minutes in my calendar every day for this activity. Similarly, Blogging is a daily commitment. So late in the night, I set aside 2 hours to write in a concentrated way. For work, apart from the scheduled meetings that straddle the entire day, there is a lot of problem-solving that needs to happen. For that, I keep free spaces in my day where I don’t do calls, meetings. I just relax with my journal and reflect on the problem I am grappling with.
Time-boxing helps me commit myself to actions that create traction towards what I want happening in each domain of my life.
Daily Success Is In Not Being Distracted
I can’t call something a distraction unless I know what it is distracting me from.
E.g., I am distracted if my time-boxed schedule is to work on a proposal, and I find myself scrolling through my social media feed. In contrast, If I am not engaged in any activity, and I scroll my social media feed deliberately because that is what I want to do, that is not a distraction.
Distraction happens when my attention is taken away from something I have planned to do at any point in time.
My daily success is in doing what I planned to do, as defined by my time-boxed schedule. It’s ok if I binge-watch some TV Show, Scroll Social Media, or take a power nap as long as that is what I planned to do. Alternatively, checking my Email Feed, a seemingly productive task, is a distraction if I am doing it when I am watching a movie with my wife or if I am working on a presentation.
Time-boxing my day is the only way for me to know if I am distracted. If I am not spending my time doing what I have planned, I am off-track.
Choosing how I wish to spend my time and spending my time doing what I choose to do without being distracted is an absolute superpower.
“People are frugal in guarding their personal property, but as soon as it comes to squandering time, they are most wasteful of the one thing in which it is right to be stingy.”
Seneca, the Stoic philosopher, said this more than 2000 years ago, and his words cannot be more relevant today.