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Timeboxing : A strategy for skill development

Q : How do you begin to eat an elephant?

A : One bite at a time.

Most of us know this quote, and I will spare you more of the “every journey begins with a single step” truisms.

However, this week I want to share a tactic that has worked very well for me in the past, as well as the present, and from what I can gather, the future as well.

The strategy of Timeboxing means to literally allocate or “box out” a period of time for one specific task.

As we all know from experience, our attention is too easily pulled in many different directions. We are on the phone with our family members, while scrolling through instagram. We are eating breakfast while watching the morning news. We are even trying to get to sleep while we simultaneously watch NETFLIX until its 3am! (Note, please stop doing this. Also note, stop releasing all the Stranger Things episodes at once.)

Science tells us we cannot multitask. Enter timeboxing.

Timeboxing is how I learned to stand on my hands. It is how I learned to perform a full Cossack Squat, and it is how I learned that my monkey brain is often filling my head with lies all day that I needed to become aware of, a.k.a. meditation.

This week I want you to pick a skill to work on. It can be physical in nature i.e. exercise, or more intellectually stimulating i.e. learn a new language, write/read.

Once you have that skill in mind, write it on paper, and set a time domain between 5-10 minutes. Write this down next to it. Then, from Monday to Saturday, set your timer once a day to that time domain, say 10 minutes, and work on the skill ONLY during that time. No phone, TV, dinner, etc. to distract you. Even if you sit there and only THINK about the skill, just do that. If you fatigue, take rest.

After the time, write down any observations you have about the skill you just worked on, and move on until tomorrow.

We want to know, what will you work on? Email us as an extra accountability partner, or get it out into the world to let people know. Or if you prefer, keep it in your notebook and deliberately timebox away without telling anybody.

Let us know how it goes, and we hope you find similar success to what we have had in the past.

Happy practicing!

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