Time for another post about motivational methods you can use to improve your commitment to writing. Today is all about the Pomodoro Technique®, which is a useful way of ensuring bum in seat, fingers on keyboard, and eyes on screen. Some of you may already be using this method, but for those of you unfamiliar with the technique – read on!
The simplest version of the technique is as follows:
- Choose a task to be accomplished
- Set the Pomodoro to twenty-five minutes (the timer is the Pomodoro)
- Work on the task until the Pomodoro rings, then put a check on your sheet of paper
- Take a short break
- Every four Pomodoros, take a longer break
And that’s it!
The beauty of this method is it feels like you’re still procrastinating and working with no focus. Why is that a good thing? Because that’s how you get more work done! Think about it, when you sit at home with one task to complete you put it off for the whole day. Imagine if you had to fill in your tax returns…bleargh. You’re probably going to start seeing a hundred things that need ‘doing’ around the house. Before you know it you’ve got the ironing board out and you’ve de-creased two hundred (and one) socks, you’ve oiled that squeaky door, taken the bins out, cleaned out your u-bends, de-scaled the kettle, and alphabetised your DVD collection. You haven’t filed your tax returns but bloody hell, look how much other stuff you got done! Now imagine if you could focus that ‘jittery’ energy onto tasks you wanted to accomplish.
With the Pomodoro Technique® you start with a To Do Today worksheet on which you write down all the tasks you want to achieve that day (in order of priority). At the bottom of this sheet is a space to use if unexpected activities pop up. Don’t fret if they do simply continue with the technique and you’ll have them ticked off before you know it.
Set the timer, then work – this is the important bit – without interruption, for twenty-five minutes. When the timer goes off, stop working and add a cross in the box next to the activity you were completing. This does not mean the activity is finished, the cross represent one Pomodoro for the activity. This is done so you can measure the amount of time it took to achieve one goal. Now take your five minute break.
Repeat the above step until you’ve done four Pomodoros, and then take a longer break (from fifteen to thirty minutes).
Now back to the Pomodoro sessions! Once you complete an activity put a big fat black line through it…grinning at this stage is optional.
And that’s about it. There are other forms you can fill in, and you can always research the technique a little deeper if you wish but the above simple version should have you firing through that checklist in no time. For more information on the Pomodoro Technique® check out the official website.
Want to try it out but don’t have a kitchen timer? That’s no excuse; just use this handy free web-based application – Focus Booster.
Have fun pomodor-oing!