Post by NCW Member Jenny Sundstedt
Jenny's posts will appear every Monday
In January, I wrote a NCW blog post about my frustration with my poor time management (You Say Tomato...), and how I hoped The Pomodoro Technique would help me get a handle on all the minutes that seem to sneak away without my notice. (A quick, if oversimplified, review: the technique involves setting a timer for twenty-five minutes, working until it goes off, taking a five-minute break, and repeating the cycle.)
I’m pleased to report that The Pomodoro Technique is as easy and effective as I hoped it would be. As it turns out, I respond well to the sound of a ringing bell. In fact, I’m positively Pavlovian about it, but without the annoying drooling. The ticking of the timer did panic me at first, making me feel as if I had to account for every passing second, but now it’s merely an ambient reminder to stay on task.
Twenty-five minutes is the perfect length of time for those of us long on ambition but short on attention. I can endure any unpleasant household job for that long without feeling the need to quit halfway and self-medicate with green tea and chocolate. And yet, twenty-five uninterrupted minutes spent catching up on the news or doing a crossword puzzle feels like a true indulgence.
Though I’m trying, I don’t Pomodoro every day. Some days, interruptions and distractions abound, and I have to forego the timer for sanity’s sake. I’ve also found that the technique is not perfectly suited for every activity. I like using it when I’m e-mailing, surfing the net, paying bills, doing laundry or other chores, and alphabetizing the spices. (Okay, so I’ve never in my life done that last one, but I can dream.) It rubs me the wrong way, however, when I’m writing or when I’m reading something longer than a magazine. Frankly, I never would have made it through The Story of Edgar Sawtelle twenty-five minutes at a time.
As I’ve gotten more efficient with my time at home, I’m realizing how much of it I waste when I’m out and about. My next experiment will be Pomodoro-on-the-Go—using the technique when I leave the house.
Has anyone else tried living on Tomato Time?
Jenny is a writer in Fort Collins who is currently looking to find an agent to represent her supernatural mystery, The Silver Web.