It’s no secret that I’m a bit of a scatter-brain sometimes. I’m one of those people who lacks focus, taking on too much, and accomplishing very little. Easily distracted. That’s me. It doesn’t even have to be something “fun” that distracts me… it might be something as simple as deciding to clean the apartment, and starting in the kitchen, but then noticing something that needs to be done in the living room, and going to work on that instead. After an hour’s work things look better, but nothing looks great. There is zero sense of accomplishment, and probably even a little “why bother?” frustration bouncing around in my head.
“Why don’t you just work on one room at a time?” I can hear people asking. Absolutely that’s the best way to approach it. I know that. But this extends to all aspects of my life, and not simply cleaning. Any sort of household chore. Writing. Exercising. Even work, although I find that I’m considerably better at the office. So while I know what I need to focus on, training my brain to do that is what this exercise is all about.
I’ve looked at a few different Time Management techniques, from Getting Things Done (GTD) to the Seinfeld Principle… There is only one that appeared to be a good fit for me and my brain… The Pomodoro Technique.
The Pomodoro Technique is designed to eliminate distractions by forcing you to concentrate on a single task for 25 mins. At the end of that 25 mins, you take a 5 min break. Then continue with the task for another 25 min block (called a pomodoro because of the use of a pomodoro kitchen timer, although any timer can be used and there are several free digital ones designed specifically for this technique). After 4 pomodori, you reward yourself with a 30 min break.
Now if you’re thinking “This seems a little too structured… if you know that you have tasks to do, then just do them” then you probably don’t require any Time Management Technique. Certainly many people do not. I envy you. But I’m 40, and I know that this is something that has hampered my efficiency for years. Sure, I’ll get stuff done. Eventually. But there has to be a better way, and I haven’t come up with it on my own. So I think that this is worth a shot.
This past weekend was my trial run of the Pomodoro Technique. Curious how I did? Stay tuned for my next post where I explain in detail what went right… and what could have gone better.