- 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
Here we go again with another entry in the timeboxing series…I really should stop calling it a “trilogy”, since there are quite clearly more than three parts, but…whatever. I mean, it was originally intended to span only three parts but it kept — OK, no, we’re not talking about this any more.
That’s right — incremental timeboxing. As the name would suggest it is simply decremental timeboxing…in reverse. I haven’t felt the need to use incremental timeboxing as much as decremental timeboxing, but it can be useful for situations where you need to warm up and work up the energy to do some kind of work (rather than make effective use of waning energy).
Timebox Sizes (“Increment Patterns”)
- 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 (units: minutes) | Each timebox is one minute longer than its predecessor
- 1-2-4-8-16 (units: minutes) | Each timebox is double the length of its predecessor
- 30-60-90-120 (units: seconds) | Each timebox is 30 seconds longer than its predecessor
Incremental-then-Decremental (“Curved” or “Parabolic” Timeboxing)
I haven’t tried it yet myself but I imagine that incremental and decremental timeboxing could actually be mixed together, with timeboxes growing in size up to a certain point, peaking, and then winding down. Depending on the work in question I get the feeling that it could be a really effective technique. Patternwise, perhaps it would go a little something like this:
- 1-2-3-4-5-4-3-2-1 (units: minutes) | Increment by one minute, peak, decrement by one minute
- 1-2-4-8-4-2-1 (units: minutes) | Double timebox length, peak, halve timebox length
- 30-60-90-120-90-60-30 (units: seconds) | Increment by 30 seconds, peak, decrement by 30 seconds
The only potentially tricky part would remembering which side of the curve you were on (rising or falling). You could also just go by your energy level: keep incrementing gradually until you feel tired, then start decrementing rapidly — more rapidly than you incremented — like so:
- 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-5-3-2-1 (units: minutes)
- 1-2-3-4-5-3-2-1 (units: minutes)
- 30-60-90-120-240-480-120-60-30 (units: seconds)
Strictly speaking, it might be slightly inappropriate to call “incremental-then-decremental” a form of nested timeboxing. A more descriptive name would be something to the effect of “curved” or “parabolic” timeboxing. Coz…it cuurrrrves…like space-time. No? Dexter’s Lab? Anyone? No? OK, no…
Another timeboxing mash-up would be to use dual (two-timer) timeboxing that decrements. Basically you have the big timer doing decremental timeboxing, and the small timer looping through the big timer on a fixed loop of, say, 60 seconds. Example times:
- BIG TIMER: 10-5-3-2-1 (units: minutes)
- SMALL TIMER: 1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1… (units: minutes)
Fun for all the family. Anyway…that’s it from me for now 🙂 . I’d love to hear about your timeboxing techniques and success stories — feel free to share them here.
Oh yeah — here’s the next installment in the series, Timeboxing Trilogy, Part 6: Q&A.