Timeboxing Trilogy, Part 9: Birthlines And Timeboxing

This entry is part 12 of 21 in the series Timeboxing Trilogy

The previous installment of the trilogy is here, first installment here.

What’s that? The meaning of the word “trilogy”? Don’t…Don’t even start. Just…don’t.

Today, I’m just going to quickly share with you a little technique I came up with recently that uses birthlines to approach tasks where unnecessary fear and BS is involved. To keep things short, I will assume you already know what birthlines are.

Basically, this technique combines decremental and incremental timeboxing with birthlines. What happens is that the birthlines keep decrementing in distance, while the work that’s done at the birthline increments. So like this:

  1. Rest: 64 minutes
  2. Birthline 0: Work 1 minute.
  3. Rest: 32 minutes
  4. Birthline 1: Work 2 minutes
  5. Rest: 16 minutes
  6. Birthline 2: Work 4 minutes
  7. Rest: 8 minutes
  8. Birthline 3: Work 8 minutes
  9. Rest 4 minutes
  10. Birthline 4: Work 16 minutes
  11. Rest 2 minutes
  12. Birthline 5: Work 32 minutes
  13. Return to 1?

So what’s happening up there is that we’re halving the time between birthlines, while doubling the length of timeboxes. The actual numbers are, of course, up to you.  I don’t use birthlines like this all the time, but this kind of “inverse timeboxing” is useful for easing yourself into things that would otherwise get unnecessarily avoided. Things like, I dunno, filling in tax forms. For writing AJATT itself I mostly use “parabolic” timeboxing.

If you have a task you’re avoiding, one thing you could do is start with this “inverse timeboxing” or “birthline timeboxing” or whatever we’re going to call it, and then, once you’re past the worst of the fear and avoidance, switch to a simpler timeboxing method.

That’s it. Pretty simple. First you rest for a whole hour, then work for just 1 minute. So you don’t even have to stop procrastinating to begin with 🙂 . Life is sweet, ‘innit?

Next installment: Timeboxing Trilogy, Part 10: Timeboxing, Tony Schwartz and Recovery | AJATT | All Japanese All The Time j.mp/dM8XoP

Series Navigation<< Timeboxing Trilogy, Part 8: Don’t Those Super-Short Timeboxes Make Timeboxing Meaningless?Decremental Timebox → Real Time Conversion Table >>

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  5 comments for “Timeboxing Trilogy, Part 9: Birthlines And Timeboxing

  1. kalek
    October 29, 2010 at 10:21

    thanks for this! i am using it to do my calculus homework as i post this

    it’ll also come in handy for my kanji review

  2. URAHARA
    October 29, 2010 at 18:58

    I am confused.
    Solution.
    Let’s take 64 minutes rest from the beginning. 😉

  3. あんど
    October 29, 2010 at 21:46

    Hmm, very interesting. I dig. Gonna have to mess with this awesomeness.

  4. 星空
    November 5, 2010 at 09:17

    ok. 唯分かんないよ。最初よりまごまごさせてるの。
    perhaps i should do what the guy in post 7 did: completely ditch this.
    i’ll just get into the porverbial zone and keep doing whatever until i finish
    or someone yells at me, whichever comes first.

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