Sunday, April 19, 2020


If you know me long enough, you know that I am a big fan of To-Do lists. To-Do lists have been a part of my professional and personal life for as long as I remember. For team-work and where I have to coordinate with several people, I love Trello. Its Kan-ban like interface is nifty for tracking status and driving things to completion. However, lately I have realized that To-Do lists lack the "time required" component and that puts the tasks that take longer to a big disadvantage. In other words - on my to-do list a 2 minute task and a 2 hour task both occupy 1 line each. And my monkey brain always chooses to complete all the smaller tasks (to get my dopamine kicks) in the process pushing my big ticket tasks for "later" (Euphemism for "never").

I was researching a bit about this problem on the internet when I had my A-ha moment. (Trust me, if you have any kind of problem ever in your life, someone else somewhere has had that problem before, solved it and documented it somewhere on the internet for you. All you have to do is - search for it!). So the magic bullet to complement your To-Do lists is - Time-boxing

Time-boxing is just a sophisticated way of doing these 3 things:
  1. Assign a priority value to every item on your to-do list
  2. Estimate time required to do every item on your to-do list
  3. Assign that item on your calendar for a specific time-slot based on the time you estimated in (2) above
So a simple list of 5 Tasks on your To-Do List after Time-boxing would look something like this on your calendar:


Its of-course much more difficult than just creating a To-Do List. But it gives you an idea of the finite time you really have and helps you prioritize your work for the day/ week or a given time period. Also, when you start estimating the time (or effort) required to complete a task, you identify which tasks are actually projects that need to be accomplished and work towards breaking them down into smaller manageable tasks that can be done over a period of time!

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