- 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
- Three Minutes Of…
- 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
- Decremental Timebox → Real Time Conversion Table
- Timeboxing Trilogy, Part 10: Timeboxing, Tony Schwartz and Recovery
- Can Timeboxing Help Me Do Really Big, Hard Things?
- Protected: How Zombie Gunship Taught Me All I Need to Know To Make My Real Life Awesome (And So Can You!): Gamifying Real Life For Fun and Profit and (Almost) For Free
- Nothing Is Hard
- Protected: All I Ever Needed to Know in Life, I Learned from Cloud Storage
- Protected: Don’t Be The Kaiser or the Fuhrer
- How To Get Nothing Done: The Art and Science of Wresting Defeat From the Jaws of Victory
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 seriously not talking about this any more.
Today, as promised 😀 , I’d like to answer some of the questions you raised in comments on preceding articles of this series. Let’s go straight to it.
Did you use timeboxing to write these articles?
Yes. Although sometimes I eventually had enough momentum going to not need the timeboxes.
How long should one [rest] break for between timeboxes, and what are recommended activities?
Should I make my work timeboxes and rest timeboxes equal in lengths?
What if I like 2-minute timeboxes for resting? Should I not do them because you say I shouldn’t?
Also, if I feel like stopping mid-timebox should I continue anyway or should I stop because I want to stop?
OK first of all, write this on your liver: never use the word “should” in my presence. There are no “shoulds” in AJATT. People are always shoulding all over themselves </TonyRobbinsReference>. Do whatever you want. Do whatever makes you happy and productive.
I don’t make rules: I make games. SRS is a game. Nested timeboxing is a game. Games have rules, too, but those rules are designed to make things fun and addictive. That is their only purpose. It just so happens that we use the game of timeboxing to do “productive”(-seeming) things, but that doesn’t make it any less of a game, any more than a beanbag stops being a beanbag because it’s an office and not a living room.
Second. I don’t take breaks between nested timeboxes. I mean, I do insofar as I ultimately stop working and go do other things, but taking breaks isn’t part of the game, if you will. For me, the point of (nested) timeboxing is to be working all the time you work. It’s about focus. Gosh, I’m using all these words I hate. I do have natural moments of “pause”, but no official breaks. But that’s just me.
I hate time-limited breaks. To me it’s like timing sex. I’m gonna break until I feel rested, and I’m gonna hump until it no longer feels good…and I don’t know when that is until I get there…When hungry, eat…when tired, rest. When bored, change the channel. But that’s just me.
Now, I know a lot of you are thinking: “but if I start resting, I’ll never stop”. That’s because you’ve been raised in slavery. Don’t you see? BECAUSE your breaks have been rationed out and time-limited, they have increased in value a hundredfold. More than all the camels and women in the desert, yazalami! They’ve become like crack and gold and diamonds and baseball cards and first edition comic books — valuable BECAUSE they are rare.
Humans are forgetful, but not lazy. Humans work hard. Watch someone play WoW, those motherlovers get worn out. And we’ve all read those news stories of kids in Korea playing video games literally to death. Humans are hard-working sons of mothers. We only seem intrinsically lazy because we have inadvertently given rest activities a very high (but extrinsic) value.
With timeboxing, we are doing the complete opposite of that. We are rationing out and nickel-and-diming and salami-slicing and swiss-cheesing and bite-sizing and shrinking and wrapping and miniaturizing the work, while freeing up the rest. The idea of timeboxing is to make work addictive by making it exciting and rare and short.
When tired, rest. Rest all you need to. Make your rest abundant and you’ll get bored of it. Flood the market with rest — make it so that you can rest any time. It’s kind of like how when you were a kid and you actually wanted to go back to school as the summer holiday grew to a close. You were like: “enough of this Nintendo and candy and playing outside already…get me my uniform and pencil case — I’m going back to meet the lads!”.
Aside: IMHO, there’s a bit of a scam going on with school summer holidays. It seems to me that they’re designed to be just long enough that you get sick of them, but not so long that you start taking on productive, independent learning projects that would demonstrate to you that you don’t need school. But I digress.
Again, I do take breaks during the timeboxing, but never for more than one minitimebox (i.e. never traversing a timebox — the alarm lets me know “hey, get back in the game”). If you need to rest that much then you shouldn’t be working, period. But that’s just me.
- Stop and go do something else until you’re bored of it — eat, sleep, rest, whatever.
- Or, make your timeboxes smaller.
The whole thing about nested timeboxing is that it’s not a new form of slavery, it’s not a new way of forcing yourself to work. Nested timeboxing is designed to make you want to work. It’s supposed to make you go: “What? 60 seconds of work??? I’ll do that for free! Heck, I’ll pay for the privilege to get on the ride :D…where’s the turnstile?”. If it doesn’t do that for you, then tweak it until it does.
Remember: game = FUNgible. You run the show. You make the rules. I cannot sit here and tell you what to do and if I were you I wouldn’t let me tell you what to do. Dang, man…life is complex enough, already.
Do not mold yourself to fit any idea I put forward. Mold the idea to fit you. This is a blog, not a religion.
A personality cult with fascist leanings, yes, but not a religion.
Again, do whatever you want. This is all a game. It’s not school; I am not your teacher; you do not take take orders from me. I’m barely sharp enough to be making systems (games) that work for myself. Don’t come here all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed looking for magic pills; I have none for you. You will gain nothing from following or forcing yourself to be like me. Just try stuff out and see what you like.
For freak’s sake, man…you are not an “average” person; we all have a lot in common, but there is no “average” person. So don’t come here to take orders, come here to see a perspective and see how you’re going to use it. This is why people — Americans, at that — die at personal development seminars: they don’t know when to just act like a cat and tell the whole world to buzz off because it’s ball-licking time. Be a cat about this, not a lapdog.
So… There is a 2 minute break between each timebox, correct?
No. If you need to rest that much, you shouldn’t be working. I mean, come on, in dual timeboxing, the small timeboxes are only like 60 seconds each. What’s to rest from?
When I read a textbook using 30 minute time boxes, it felt too easy at the beginning.
Dude…I say let it be too easy 😀 . Then again, you weren’t asking a question.
When I have a short break between study sessions, I lie on the sofa and do nothing.
Anyway…that’s it from me for now. Uncle Khatzumoto went a bit PG-13 there…I hope you weren’t all scarred. Feel free to add any questions and insights you may have; I’d love to do one more round of Q&A.