May has been brutal. Not in regards to life in general but with the writing aspect of it. First there was a wedding and a vacation, then there were family ceremonies, then there were graduations, and finally there were family visits and dinners etc. All was great and fun and awesome, but guess what happened? My writing mojo, my discipline, my habits got chucked out the window faster than you could say Jack Robinson.
I have a long summer coming up and several deadlines to meet, so losing my groove was not an option. I searched, rather frantically, for ways to get out of this funk. But all my tries were akin to banging my head against the wall.
Until the Pomodoro saved me.
Have you heard of the Pomodoro technique? If you have, you’ll already know how effective it is. If you haven’t, it’s your lucky day-I’m going to bore you to enlightment today.
Simply speaking, the Pomodoro is a time-management technique. It helps you work through distractions, improve focus as you work in short bursts. Invented by entrepreneur Francesco Cirillo, it was named the Pomodoro because he used those cute tomato-shaped timers for this method.
The methodology is simple. When you have a large or a series of small tasks facing you and can’t seem to focus, break the tasks down to a series of timed intervals, each spaced by short breaks. The technique helps train your brain to focus and if you do it long enough, brain dearest focuses in the blink of an eye.
I generated 2500 words on the first day I tried this. The day before that I got out about 300. So, you can see the difference it made to my life.
This is the exact process I followed:
- Choose a task to be completed. (I chose to write my daily 1000 words quota)
- Set the Pomodoro (the timer) to 25 mins. (I chose 15 mins)
- Work on the task (write, write, write)
- When the Pomodoro rings, stop.
- Take a 5 min break.
- When the break is over, go back to step 2.
- After doing the loop four times, take a longer break. (I took 20 mins)
- Do this until task is complete. (Took me 4 Pomodoros to complete my task and then some)
You don’t need to find the Pomodoro timer to make it work. Any timer would do. Apart from the mechanical kitchen timers, there are timers built in on our phones nowadays. There are also a few cools ones on the web-the Marinara Timer (web based), the Tomighty (Win/Mac), Pomodorable (OSX) and many more. Needless to say, the real thing is the technique, not the kind of timer you use. You can do with a simple stopwatch, it’s that easy.
So if you’re worried about lack of focus and slipping deadlines, go give the Pomodoro a try. You might be amazed by how effective a tool it is.