The Importance Of Setting Time Limit

Image courtesy of jdeepaniii


Recently I have been going out to the cafe to type my articles and I am doing this much more frequently now. A few of my friends have found my action bizarre because they were thinking why do I need to do that when I have faster internet access at home?

So why do I prefer the cafe instead of working at home?

Productivity: Time Limit

Yes! It is because my productivity level is higher whenever I am doing my work in the cafe. When we are working in the comfort of our own home, we got tons of distractions and it tend to distract us from our work and affecting our efficiency.

Some examples:

– Phone calls
– Video games
– Magazines
– Food
– Bed

These are the distractions that we will normally find it at home but we don’t find any of those in the cafe. By working in the cafe, I do not need to answer any calls from my house phone, there will be no video games to tempt me into grabbing up a controller or my comfortable bed which seem to call out for me every now and then.

This mean that without these distractions, I am able to focus more on my work instead. There is another factor that I love whenever I do my work in the cafe, it is the time limit that I have. Whenever I visit the cafe, I will bring a fully charged battery and I do not bring my charger along with me. This mean that with my fully charged battery, my laptop will last me a good 2.5 hours before the battery run dead.

I normally need a good 2 hours to create a standard length article and with this time limit of 2.5 hours, I got to hurry before the battery give up on me. This allow me to be able to put %100 of my effort in writing articles instead of fiddling with Facebook, MSN or Twitter. The time limit help to create a sense of urgency and allow me to complete my task in a faster and more efficient way.

Tasks at hand also normally expand whenever we do not limit the amount of time we allocate to them.

Some examples:

– Checking our emails
– Surfing the net (Youtube, Facebook, StumbleUpon)
– Reading our feeds in RSS reader

If we do not set a specific amount of time that we are going to spend on a certain task, it may end up taking up much more time than usual which result in a loss of time. Even when the task we are doing is an important task, setting a time limit will ensure that we can complete it in a lesser amount of time and also a higher quality of work.

How to set time limit for your task

1. Find a task.
2. Know how much time you need to complete this task.
3. Set a time limit and shave some time away from it, this will help you to find ways to do things faster and better.
4. Keep to your time limit.

These are the 4 steps that I take whenever I tackle a task and I try to put a time limit on everything I do to help maximize my productivity.

Parting Words

Each of us have 24 hours in a day and only those who maximize the use of their time will allow them to achieve more results in their lifetime. Time limiting is a great technique and it work for me. Try it out and share with me your results. 🙂

Personal Development Blogger

**P.S** Do you limit your time to your task? Does it help you to become more productive? Share with us in the comment section and I will see you there. 🙂

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  1. Vincent, I think your advice would benefit me in a very different way. I tend to AVOID activities such as blog reading, because I can’t afford to spend hours at it, and as a result, I miss out. I now see that allotting a specific time to these activities will help me to incorporate into my daily and weekly routines.

    By the way, I came here through the Carnival of Personal Development.

  2. @Hi Bonnie,

    “Plus being one of those writers that hangs out in cafes with a laptop is kind of cool”

    I got to agree with this. 😉

    Personal Development Blogger

  3. Hi Vincent 🙂

    I’m not good at setting my own time limits, but I do work well when I have an external deadline (e.g. a work deadline, or because I have a meeting at a certain time etc.). I can see how sitting in a cafe could be good for productivity, I find the background noise of people & activity (like in a busy office) can sometimes help me focus. Plus being one of those writers that hangs out in cafes with a laptop is kind of cool 😉

  4. Hi Clinton,

    Twitter and Facebook are the 2 application that tend to distract me more. I got more things done too when I am away from it.

    Personal Development Blogger

  5. This seems to work for me to, but in a slightly different way. What I do is plan my day and set a max time for each task. I usually over estimate the amount of time that it actually takes. But that’s good, because it gives me enough time to complete the task but at the same time it pushes me to work with out constantly getting distracted.

    What you said about finding a quiet place, that helps a lot. It seems like the time I get the most done is when I’m lease interested in e-mail/Twitter/Facebook etc.

    Great read!

    Clinton Skakun

  6. @Hi Emma,

    Doing our work twice as fast is possible if we are to block out our distractions and focus on our work at hand. You are one great example of it too. 🙂

    @Hi Frances,

    At the cafe, there are temptations for me to look at what others are doing or listening to them what to do but with my battery’s power dwindling every second, I got to pull myself back to doing some serious work. I do agree with you that the library will be a fine place to do our work but my local library is always filled with people which make finding a seat quite a chore.

    @Hi Ian Peatey

    That is a fascinating idea! No one want to stay uncomfortable for a long period of time and that may motivate you to do your work faster.

    Personal Development Blogger

  7. Hi Vincent

    Great to read this!

    I just changed where I work from the comfort of my lounge sofa to the discomfort of a high chair in my tiny kitchen. So far it’s made a huge difference to my concentration level and productivity. For me it was more the change in comfort level rather than setting time limits. The other advantage of the kitchen is that I don’t need to move when I want coffee!


  8. I don’t usually set time limits, but I do find that like you, I work better when I’m away from home. If I’m having an especially difficult time writing something, I go to the library. If I go to a cafe, I’ll just end up listening to someone else’s conversation instead of writing.

  9. How true! I like to work from the local library for the same reason – especially when I’m doing work that I find tedious and would *like* to distract myself from. For some reason, translating French archaeological texts is twice as fast at the library as it is at home. 😉 It’s also easier to *keep* that time restraint when you have an irritated librarian walking up and down the stacks peering at you, wondering if you’re going to pack up soon!