(via The Daily Beat)
“The Pomodoro technique is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. The technique uses a timer to break down periods of work into 25-minute intervals called ‘Pomodoros’ (from the Italian word for ‘tomato’) separated by breaks…” – Wikipedia
I just came across this technique today, after falling down one of the endless internet rabbit holes the technique itself should help combat.
The basic idea is this: set a timer, work (write) for 25 minutes, take a five minute break, repeat. You get the reward of a quick break just when it’s most likely that your mind has started to wander.
I bought a timer (digital, though manually-wound is recommended) and gave it a shot. Other than the fact that I cut out early to watch a show about Voodoo, it worked well. Knowing that I had a break coming up freed me to concentrate on my story without feeling like I was glued to the chair all night. It’s a simple thing, but it seems to be working so far. And hell, I’ll take all the help I can get.
PS – The technique is called “Pomodoro” because its inventor used a tomato-shaped timer. I like to think of each of my “pomodoros” as being one of the mutant tomatoes from Attack of the Killer Tomatoes!. Take that, lack of focus. I WILL DESTROY YOU.
First I questioned the fact that Stick Guy only has two (three?) cups of coffee. Then I realized the cups are as tall as his chair. Well played, The System.
Just a quick game, because I know you don’t have time.
In fact, that’s what this game is for.
Next time you’re watching tv, keep a notebook (or your laptop) nearby. When the commercial break starts, GO. You have 2 minutes and 20 seconds to scribble (or type) like mad. How many words can you get down? Can you write a paragraph? A whole conversation? I’ve read that an hour-long show ends up being only ~40 minutes when you delete the commercials. That’s 20 minutes of time you didn’t think you had.
When your show comes back, your pen goes down. You’re free to completely ignore your story until the next break.
You may find, like I did, that you’d rather work the story than watch the show. And that your 20 minutes of writing just became 40. But if not, you’re still 20 minutes ahead on your story. Congratulations!
“For years, it was a schedule as predictable as a calendar: novelists who specialized in mysteries, thrillers and romance would write one book a year, output that was considered not only sufficient, but productive.
But the e-book age has accelerated the metabolism of book publishing. Authors are now pulling the literary equivalent of a double shift, churning out short stories, novellas or even an extra full-length book each year.”
Read the full article here.
Writers: are you concerned about productivity? How much output is “enough”?