Monday, August 2, 2010

Pomodoro. Not just a tomato (Warning: this post may change your life)

I'm going to try and make this a quick post tonight - it's gonna have to be to prove a point I'm trying to make.

And what's that?

That there is a lot that can be done in 25 minutes.

Yes, yes, I can hear you ask - if that is so, why has there been so much time between blog posts? Could I not have whipped one up in 25 minutes? The answer is perhaps. Infact, I'm about to test that theory now.

Fact is I used to be a brilliant multi-tasker. I could be found holding drink, getting a phone number (oh, the days...) and planning out a work paper all at once. But those days are long gone - at least the ease with which I could balance it all in a single minute. My ability to multitask dissapeared with each placenta I lost. And yet my responsibilities grew and grew and grew...

So I read with interest when I went over to a blog I'm feeling a lot of love for at the moment. It belongs to Sarah Wilson (of Sunday Life) and she seems to write about a bunch of stuff that verges on tree hugging and generally makes me want to hug a tree - her stuff is all about steering towards a sweeter life.

I read with interest as I stumbled upon a time management technique she'd tried out.

She gives a thorough descrption, but it basically goes like this:

  • Set up an online timer. Pomodoro is the recognised brand, but she pointed me towards Focus Booster which I have continued to use and love it ('tis easy - I even drag it around with me on the laptop).
  • Timer runs for 25 min, tick tocking in the background the whole time (I have used it at work and don't recommend having it on high volume unless you're not afraid of security).
  • Buzzer goes off at end of 25 min for a 5 min break.
  • You stop what you're doing right then and there. You get up and do something else. Hop on twitter, call your best friend, make a cuppa. I like to take a walk. They're all ace. Basically, whatever tickles your fancy.
  • At end of 5 min (and 5 min only - no dragging it out) you hop straight back on for your next 25 minute hit.
  • You continue this for about 3 x 25min lots before taking a longer break.
Here's the thing. As a technique, it works a treat. If you've got a to-do or wish list as long as mine, or just want to churn out some writing or work, try it out. Ideally, the universe would hand me over an extra 3 hours a day to work/play/procrastinate away at my leisure (which is code for spend time online) but in the absence of such generosity I simply have to do more in less.

So is chunking in to 25 min lots now the answer? It most certainly helps. It's not a habit yet, but I'm trying. And it's working. And that's why I'm sharing.

Obviously I love comments (*batters eyelids*) but would genuinely love to know if you've ever done anything similar or plan to? Do you ordinarily get distracted or manage to stay on course?

Dovic xx

PS In the interests of true disclosure this post ended up taking two lots of 25 mins. But I had a nice yummy rice cracker with cream cheese inbetween. And now? Off to read a book....See. Lovely.


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