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Jul
3
2016

Knocking Out Your Manuscript With the Pomodoro Technique -- by Byron Kimball

I admit it. I often spend more time looking for new productivity tools than I actually spend writing. I probably download at least one new productivity app a week, and that’s on a slow week.

Each productivity app and tool I’ve ever tried comes pre-loaded with promises and claims- it’ll be the Next Big Tool, I’ll find extra minutes throughout my day like spare change on bus seats, and I’ll knock out my book magically overnight.

I delete most of these apps and tools within a couple days. But one tool remained and more often than not, it’s the tool I use both during my regular workday as a freelance writer and when I’m plunking down to knock out my manuscripts and short stories: The Pomodoro technique.

So, What Is It?

Francesco Cirillo wanted to get stuff done (but don't we all?). And so sometime in the late 80s, he sat down and developed what eventually turned into the Pomodoro technique.

The concept’s pretty simple. Pick one task. Let’s say you’re knocking out a blog post. You’ll single-mindedly focus on this one task for exactly 25 minutes, which you’ll time with a timer.

Once you’ve completed each task, you’ll make a check mark on a sheet of paper to show you’ve completed your first (and subsequent) tasks and you’ll have the opportunity to take a 5-minute break between each 25-minute session.

As you proceed, you’ll gain the ability to take longer breaks. Complete 4 25 minute tasks and allow yourself to take 15-minute breaks. Rinse and repeat.

A lot of people just use a kitchen timer (or a timer on their phone) and a sheet of paper to track their tasks. But there’s also apps you can download (I, for one, use the free Pomodoro Time app available for Mac) if you’d like to have something that tracks all your sessions for you.

The Possibilities Are Endless

You really can use the Pomodoro technique for everything. Household chores, work related tasks, and so on. I usually like to do it when I’m running through a day’s work and have a few blog posts or articles to knock out.

The nice thing about the Pomodoro technique is that I find that timing myself unlocks something of a competitive streak, which really motivates me to settle down and work. Since you’re not working for long periods of time, work (and well, writing a book) automatically seem more manageable and a little less intimidating.

I wrote my Nanowrimo novel last year (and I won) using the Pomodoro technique and have finished several short stories and flash fiction pieces. My productivity has shot up practically overnight and considering a short attention span tends to be my downfall, the Pomodoro technique has worked wonders.

Whether you favor a low-tech method or prefer apps, the Pomodoro technique (if you haven’t given it a shot already) could be the one for you. Got a productivity app you swear by? Let me know what you think in the comments.

The Pomodoro Time on App Store

The Tomato Timer Online

Posted by Byron Kimball 3 Jul 2016 at 00:10
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Responses to this blog

Philliport 5 Jul 2016 at 03:36  
[redacted]

Message was edited by moderator
spam, spam, spam.

Petesdiner 5 Jul 2016 at 03:53  
Quote by: Philliport
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__________________
How he picked the stars like eggs in a hen house.

Onalimb 5 Jul 2016 at 07:21  
Quote by: Petesdiner
Quote by: Philliport
This is one supplementary wonderful webpage that has uncovered me breathtaking income which include tutorial and materials to the major group of artificial surgical procedure and every one.

I might be off base here, and if I am, I am really sorry and I'll whip up one thousand virtual waffles, but Google-translated spam?



If you're wrong, I'll eat those waffles. My morning chuckle—a major group of artificial surgical procedure. I've no idea what that means, but there must be a SF story in there somewhere.
__________________


Ronthebear 5 Jul 2016 at 16:47  
Man, I feel pretty flattered. Skynet seems to be a fan of my blog.
Sam_rowe 6 Jul 2016 at 16:41  
I prefer to just write a few thousand words a day. It'll eventually get done.
Dsritter1 24 Jul 2016 at 11:04  
I've used this technique off and on and it definitely works for me. I just forget about it sometimes.

Also, make sure, if you use the app to set it up how you'd like. Sometimes they'll automatically change from "work" to "break" without much indication, and then, you've missed your hard-earned five minutes.
Vcanfield 31 Jul 2016 at 10:49  
We've used this for years in schools with the name Grandma Rule or First/Then. We set up a timer for kids who have a problem staying on task or who need to be motivated. 15 minutes on task (or 20 or 30, depending on the child), 5-10 min. of choice (free) time when finished. They check off each task on a task list after completing. At the end of 3 tasks, they get a longer choice time or some treat. It's very successful with many of the kids I work with, particularly the children with autism.
Sanpod2001 11 Aug 2016 at 05:15  
I think the entire success of this method is the idea of checking the time often and the concept of rewarding. Not bad though! I'll surely give it a shot!

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