Rowland Carlson

Delayed Timeboxing

2020-09-04

A form of timeboxing where you delay making timeboxes until right before you spend that time.

Timeboxing is scheduling your time by pre-deciding what you're going to do in each chunk of time. It differs from a list of tasks in that you're thinking about units of time instead of tasks of unknown length.

In a morning, you might schedule a half-hour for exercise, an hour for breakfast, and two hours for a hobby.

Timeboxing is useful if you don't know where your time is going or you feel that you're distracted often. It's impossible to know if you're distracted if you don't know how you wanted to spend that time. But timeboxing can fail if you have interruptions, unforeseen meetings, or emergencies that eat the time that was supposed to be for work.

This is where delayed timeboxing comes in.

In traditional timeboxing, you might plan timeboxes for your entire workweek. In delayed timeboxing, you put off making a decision until you have as much information as possible.

You can use the transitions in your day to plan out how you want to spend the next few hours. Before starting work, you can plan what you want to spend each hour of work. Before stopping work, you can decide how you want to spend your evening.

When I was working on the assembly line, I'd use delayed timeboxing to plan out how I wanted to spend my afternoon. I'd schedule time for a walk, time for reading my newest book, and time for trying a new behavior or idea to improve myself. Before going to bed, I'd use delayed timeboxing to decide how I wanted to spend my morning before work, which allowed me to try morning routines without needing a habit.