- How To Get Nothing Done: The Art and Science of Wresting Defeat From the Jaws of Victory
- Timeboxing Trilogy, Part 1: What Is Timeboxing, Why Does It Work, And Why Should You Care?
- Timeboxing Trilogy, Part 2: Nested Timeboxing
- Timeboxing Trilogy, Part 3: Dual Timeboxing
- Timeboxing Trilogy, Part 3.5: Timeboxing Turns Work Into Play
- Timeboxing Trilogy, Part 4: Decremental Timeboxing
- Timeboxing Trilogy, Part 5: Incremental Timeboxing and Mixed Timeboxing
- My (Current) Timeboxing Tools: Hardware Timers
- Timeboxing Trilogy, Part 6: Q&A
- Timeboxing Trilogy, Part 7: Isn’t Timeboxing Just A Waste of Time?
- Timeboxing Trilogy, Part 8: Don’t Those Super-Short Timeboxes Make Timeboxing Meaningless?
- Timeboxing Trilogy, Part 9: Birthlines And Timeboxing
- Timeboxing Trilogy, Part 10: Timeboxing, Tony Schwartz and Recovery
- Decremental Timebox → Real Time Conversion Table
- Can Timeboxing Help Me Do Really Big, Hard Things?
- Three Minutes Of…
- Nothing Is Hard
You’ve clearly used this method to accomplish great things, so I’m trying to put my skepticism aside… I see how this would apply to something like cleaning the house, but I’m having trouble seeing how it can be applied to larger, more complicated and cognitively intensive tasks. For example, a 20-page paper for a college class.
If I could only work in spurts of 90-120 seconds, I might finish 2 or 3 sentences at a time. Sometimes I wouldn’t even finish one sentence. If I then had to switch, when I came back I’d have to spend most of the timebox figuring out where I left off in the argument and getting myself back in that train of thought. Then it would be time to switch again.
I guess I’m saying that while I see the benefits of frequent task-switching (novelty bringing more mental energy and interest), there are also costs. Some tasks just seem more suited to spending 15 minutes, 30 minutes, or even an hour immersed in focused work.
What do you think about that? Am I misunderstanding how the timeboxing method applies to tasks like writing a paper? Or are the some tasks that work better with timeboxing than others, and if so how should we decide when to make use of this technique?
Duh. If you write 2~3 sentences at a time enough times…the paper will write itself. How do you think I produced this entire website, which, at this writing, would fill a couple of Harry Potter-size books?
Admittedly, this website sucks. But that’s beside the point. It’s here.
There are no truly big atoms. There are no big tasks. Only long sequences of small tasks.