Steve wrote on concept of TimeBoxing about 5 years back applying the principals of software development cycle to personal life. The concept derives its importance from the fact that deadlines are important. Though this concept of TimeBoxing has much wider meaning but I will restrict it in terms of an all important aspect of Deadlines. Imagine a scenario where you have exam in 2 weeks and the date of exam is fixed. All the time you have is two weeks to make your best effort. You study hard and do everything to cover the syllabus. In case two weeks is short time then based on your experience you would cover those things which have high probability of making into the question paper. Remember the ultimate goal is still to get the high score in exams. The choices you make to achieve the final goal are something that matter most in the end.
While you read a lot about goals and how to set them. Equally important is the approach you use to achieve those goals. Goals are worthless if there is no effort to achieve them or you achieve them when they hold no meaning. The aspect of time factor has ability to spin the pendulum in any direction. Imagine you love sports and in 2 years you want to establish yourself as an authority in online space. You know you have to start and finish early because the void can be filled by anyone before you. One day you just sit down and decide to start. What are the series of steps you need to take in order to ensure that you become what you want to be? I call this as 7 point approach which has helped me not only in my job but also in personal life
1. See the Bigger Picture– It is very important to see bigger picture. If you concentrate on small parts than success holds no meaning. The bigger picture in this case is that you want to establish yourself as an authority and subsequently want to make a career out of it. This would encompass that apart from content the venture should have ability to mint money too. You want the business to be profitable and self sustaining in 2 years
2. Create Larger Goals– The next step is to create larger Goals. Lets for simplicity sake, for sports site, you consider content and ecommerce as the larger Goals
3. Divide Each Big Goal into Smaller Goals– This is important step which will help you to simplify the task. For sports site divide the Goal of ecommerce into smaller goals. It can be things you would sell in your portal, integration of shopping cart, running operations, commissions etc.
4. Asses your Resources– An assessment of resources will give you ability to achieve all goals within stipulated time. This can be in form of both internal and external resources. Your own pool of money, contacts of your friends, your proximity to media people are all resources which will help you to achieve smaller goals
5. Prioritize– It can happen that some smaller part of goals leading to larger goal can be achieved with ease within stipulated timeframe while some cannot be achieved at all. It is important to prioritize such goals and reprioritize it till the time your Big Goal remains intact within stipulated timeframe. For sports site you may consider to sell the Baseball goods first because the warehouse is near your home and the owner is your friend. This will serve as Proof of concept of capabilities and help you decide on next phase. The other step can be set up of the shopping cart and then testing it for efficiency etc.
6. Do the status check– Always keep date of status check to assess the progress. This will give you a true picture in terms of what can be added or removed from whole process. Infact all above steps especially Prioritization can come again in picture based on its outcome.
7. Be Prepared for D-Day– You need to be in control for the D-day. The D-day and the few days preceding it holds a lot of importance. There are lots of important and cosmetic changes that are made and you need to have the skill to make important decisions. This is most important step because in a way it is your last mile of whole process.
Deadlines are important to reach the place where you want yourself to be. If you don’t achieve what to you want today then achievement would hold no meaning tomorrow. In this fast pacing world every second counts and nothing is negotiable. TimeBoxing holds a lot of meaning in itself and is important principal when implied to Individual lives. The 7 steps defined above are important from Deadline perspective. You can apply them to variety of scenarios and you would see that it still hold good.