Research Note 12: Timeboxing for Music

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Creating music can give you so much joy. When you’re in a state of flow and you finish a song and it sounds great. But if you ask most music producers they all agree that there seem to be as many or more moments of agony. Despite our will, there are lots of real reasons why we sometimes procrastinate, including fear of failure, fear of success, and simple laziness.

If you’re a chronic procrastinator, you’re not alone. There are many creative (and non-creative) people who suffer from task aversion and will find any excuse to avoid doing the work that really needs to get done. One strategy for overcoming procrastination that’s commonly used in the software development world is known as timeboxing.

Timeboxing simply means setting a fixed amount of time for a particular task. The amount of time you choose is up to you, but it should be short enough so that it’s easily manageable by even the most determined procrastinators. I’ve been using the Pomodoro Technique for years as a designer but I’m never used it to creating or producing music. I am curious to see if it is as effective.

Here’s what I’ll try as an experiment for timeboxing for songwriting:

  1. Create a drumbeat with 3 variations (25mins)
  2. Write and record a bass line with 2 separate parts (25mins)
  3. Write a melody/lead line and chords for the bass parts (25mins)
  4. Arrange the song structure (intro, verse, chorus, ending) (25mins)

I’ll post what I create tomorrow. Don’t judge me, that’s not what this is about.

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