By day I work 60 hour weeks. At night I am a devoted father and husband to the world's greatest family. Somewhere in the non-existent time between the two, I am a writer. Join me from the beginning as I chronicle my adventures to become a successful published author.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Day 256 - Time Boxing - Self Improvement

One of the writing time techniques that has been used with Author's Incognito and several other groups is called Sprinting. It's where a timer is set, and everyone works on writing in that time, nothing else. It is pretty effective.

During the course of building an office here in Houston, I have also been spending a lot of time with memory and time management, as well as other self-improvement and motivational material. Being the only person in a start-up office means you have to be self-motivated and improving more so than normal.

One of the methods talked about frequently is actually what Sprinting is a derivative of: time boxing.

I discovered the best explanation at ( has 15 examples of uses). From that site, we read:

For those new to it, time boxing is simply fixing a time period to work on a task or group of tasks. Instead of working on a task until it’s done, you commit to work on it for a specific amount of time instead.
But don’t let the simplicity of the concept deceive you — there’s much more to this tool than meets the eye.
And it's true. It seems so simple, and yet it has revolutionized my working ability. It's not that I haven't used it in the past. I think we all have at some point. Still, when you get into the nuts and bolts of honing it as a skill, life becomes much happier, simpler, and productive.

The reason I bring this up is because it is what has allowed me to jump back on the writing train. I made a goal to do it, I set aside a brief period of time each day, and I follow through with it. Just 15 minutes. That's all I schedule. If I go more, fine. I set a countdown timer (, and when I find myself getting distracted I say "Just 9 more minutes Matt, you can do that. Focus! And I do. Because 15 minutes isn't long. Each time I look up, it's easier. I don't worry that writing is preventing me from doing other things I need to. And the timer, complete with ringing alarm, is both a taskmaster and a relief.

Give it a go. Read the article I linked. Let me know how it works out.



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