I recently read about Pomodoro timers and was like Heyyyyy, there's an OCD app I don't have! I should probably get it.
It's touted as "a very effective way to improve your work and study habits," and there is an adorable tomato that makes it fun.
There is a lot of talk about objectives and it can be complicated if that's your jam, but the TLDR version is this:
- Work on a single task for 25 minutes
- Take a five minute break
- Rinse and repeat as necessary
- Sometimes break for 30 minutes (like, lunch, and stuff?)
|A screenshot of my timer clicking away|
Now, I don't *usually* have an issue with buckling down and getting my work done. In fact, I almost have the opposite problem where I can't stop working and always feel like there's more to do.
But there is something I have a HUGE problem with, and it's the M-word.
Also, by not looping "non-work" into "work" because it feels like multi-tasking but really I'm just flaking off. When your job is essentially being on the internet, this is tricky.
My biggest time-sucks while I'm working, as I've talked about before, are ...
- Email (Sometimes they are really timely and require action! Also I'm completely addicted to #InboxZero so I've been fixated on keeping it empty)
- Facebook (I'm lonely! I work at home!)
- Twitter (It's for work! It's a networking tool!)
- US Weekly (It's an addiction. CANTSTOPWONTSTOP.)
- Blogs (Also for work. They're my people.)
- Pinterest (Yet again, for work. See?)
So I started using the Pomodoro timer, and ... I really like it.
I bought the free version at first, and then upgraded quickly to the paid version because I wanted the ability to customize sounds. Yes, seriously.
It does an old-timey tick-tick-tick as you're working, and I chose the sound of a bustling coffee shop for my break time sound. There's a little ding (you know I customized it) that tells you when it's time to resume working, and ... I just like it.
When the five minutes of break-time starts, I jump out of my chair and spend it standing to stretch my legs. I might putter around my office and try to clean up the mounds of fabric and pattern pieces, or cut out a pattern, or run upstairs to grab a snack. It feels so justified, because it's A REAL BREAK. Like REAL PROFESSIONALS might have at a REAL OFFICE.
The 25-minute work segments have been great because the tick-tick-tick sound reminds me to focus on completing ONE task (or most of one) and not bopping all over the internet because I was looking up a word on Thesaurus.com and wound up on a slideshow about Things I Never Knew About the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
It's been the kick in the ass I need to NOT have a million tabs on the go, and just FOCUS on one thing while ignoring the other things I could be doing. Twenty-five minutes is not a long time, but it's a REALLY long time if you stay on task.
I really noticed this the other day when I was practically slumped over at my desk eating the mini Reese cups (post-Halloween addiction). I felt like I was in a fog and it was imposssssssible to work.
But I turned on my timer, opened up the story I needed to write, and slogged into it with gritted teeth. I wrote solidly for that 25 minutes and got the entire thing almost finished. When the timer dinged for my break, I turned it off and went outside (for what ended up being close to 30 minutes) before dinner.
Normally, I would have spent the full hour chugging away at the story and opening a zillion other tabs. So ... thanks, little tomato friend!
I'll keep you posted on how the Pomodoro timer works for me as I keep using it, but so far it's a keeper. Also, I'm out of mini peanut butter cups and that's probably a good thing. They were bringing me down.
NOTE: This post was not sponsored or endorsed by Pomodoro (or Reese) in any way. But feel free to send those tiny peanut butter cups. I lied when I said I quit them.