At a recent NCW coffee, the discussion turned to time management. A few of us expressed frustration with our inabilities to limit distractions, interruptions, procrastinations, and other time-wasters.
I’d had the same discussion with my sister, a writer and entrepreneur in Seattle, a week earlier. Her method of dealing with any kind of ‘block’ is to go to the bookstore, get a few self-help books, and start analyzing her life. Sometimes that’s helpful, but in this case, doing all that homework is one more thing I can’t make time for.
I know my time management stinks, but I don’t particularly care whether it’s due to bad habits, fear of success, fear of failure, self-sabotage, self-indulgence, sun spots, chocolate addiction, or plain old laziness. I just want to fix it.
So I was intrigued when NCW member Brian Schwartz suggested The Pomodoro Technique. (After I realized he wasn’t talking about a poufy hairstyle. That would be The Pompadour Technique.) In a nutshell, the Pomodoro Technique ™ is as simple as it gets.
Get a kitchen timer (the original was a tomato; hence the name, which is Italian for—you guessed it—tomato). Choose an item from your to-do list. Set the timer for 25 minutes. Work on your task until the timer rings. (No cheating!) Take a five minute break. Repeat. Visit the website (pomodorotechnique.com) for more details—but rest assured, there aren’t many. The book is a free download, and, if even that is too much of a commitment, a cheat sheet explains the basics.
I’m eager to give this a try, so I picked up a kitchen timer from Target. It’s not a tomato, but it ticks and rings. (As the Pomodoro people say, “charmingly low-tech.” Hey, just like me! ) And so, my great Time Management Experiment of 2010 begins. Stay tuned….
Have you tried the Pomodoro Technique?