Today I am addressing those who postpone and procrastinate our tasks to the very last minute. I also turn to you who forget to take breaks, and who works hard and focused until you literally collapse, or at least take your eye of the screen after a few hours of intense work and wonder where time went, feeling slightly confused and lightheaded.
Since I have personally done most of the structure-mistakes I write and talk about, I include myself in both categories.
For you who prefer listening to reading, this post is also available as an episode of the “Done!” podcast:
Flying instead of fleeing
Sometimes when I need to write something, everything but writing begs for my attention and I find it hard to get going. But at other times I fall into an amazing flow and the hours just rush by, and I forget to rest, eat, drink and stretch my legs.
Francesco Cirillo was experiencing these ups and downs towards the end of the 80s’ as well, and decided to do some experimenting on what would be his ideal work-rhythm. The result of his testing and trials is nowadays known as the Pomodoro-method. It is astonishingly simple:
🍅 Work for 25 minutes, then rest for 5 minutes. Set an alarm for 25 minutes and 5 minutes after that so that you do not have to keep track of time.
The whole point of using this pattern is that you ”force” yourself to work with concentration for at least 25 minutes with whatever you have been postponing, and it also reminds you to take regular breaks if you are inclined to forgetting these important intermissions.
If you feel like trying the method:
- Decide on how you will keep track of time. Some suggestions are:
- Try it. Set the timer for 25 minutes. Then have a 5 minutes break when the alarm sounds.
- Do at least one ”Pomodoro” more (meaning, do another 25 minutes of work) and then have another break.
- How did it feel? If you approve of the method, simply continue practicing it. If not, then do what you feel most comfortable doing — either continue with your normal rhythm or adjust your ordinary rhythm and method somehow. As we all know, not everything suits everyone.
Follow the flow!
If you work according to the Pomodoro-method, you will remember to take breaks at regular intervals so that you are not quite as exhausted as usual at the end of the day. If you are inclined to drift off and lose focus on what you really need to do right now, the Pomodoro-method will help you remain focused on one task at a time — at least for 25 minutes (assuming that you have closed your door and turned everything off that might distract you, that is).
Using it might very well have other positive consequences for you, but what those are will be yours to find out. After all, you simply have to test and try it for yourself.
What did you think?
Do you use the Pomodoro-method? What difference has it made for you? Tell me!