117 Words


Lost for time? Timeboxing makes time work for you.

Lost for time?

You've got two options to make a project 'wow' — you can work until it's done or you can set a time limit for a task to get done as "best you can." In the land of start-ups, working until it's done usually doesn't work. There's simply too many other tasks that also have importance. When you look at all the start-ups we've helped, everything comes down to one principle — "How do we get something to market quickly?"

We've worked with enough failed start-ups to know that perfection is the death of a start-up. The beauty of a new company is that you can learn from your mistakes quickly — not that your goal is to cause them — but the lessons learned become tools to help you succeed faster. Mistakes are sometimes more valuable than all the right answers. Timeboxing helps you focus on getting stuff done quickly so you can get the feedback you need.

Planned Procrastination

Think of timeboxing as planned procrastination. Let's break it down:

  • The goal is the focus, not the time. Yeah, that's a bit backwards considering we're talking about timeboxing. However, by continually focusing on limiting what your doing based on the availability of time , you'll actually focus on the result. Strange, but true.
  • It builds teams faster. Part of growing a team is learning through education and sharing knowledge. The faster you learn, the more the team benefits. Timeboxing keeps this exchange of information happening faster.
  • Personal satisfaction is high. Nobody wants to struggle through a project that lasts for weeks and produces no results. Completion and instant feedback are two of the biggest factors in employee morale. Timeboxing helps keep these front and center.
  • Deadlines don't have to be debilitating and can actually be liberating. They sharpen focus and cut out a lot of possibilities so you're not wasting your time on a bunch of "what ifs."

So on our next project together don't be surprised if we challenge you to timebox your next task — it's a time-tested method for getting awesome results.

Cup of Joe Timeboxing

In one coffee-fueled 24 hour binge, we helped nonprofit Second Harvest come up with a campaign. There was no preparation done before the event other than some overview of their organizational desires and an introduction to the team.

This amazing pro-bono effort was one huge timeboxed effort wrapped around hundreds of tasks that had to be completed extremely fast. It remains one of ZURB's craziest challenges and proof that timeboxing can produce amazing results. It took a day to recover, but it was worth it because we helped raise over 50k.

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