Notes from the Field: Pomodoro Inculcation

On February 19 I wrote about beginning my journey into Pomodoro-land. I've been experimenting with different applications for my Android phone.  There are desktop applications, but I'm not always at the same desktop.  My phone, though, is always with me.

While I like many of the features of Clockwork Tomato, I'm now using the following timer.

The benefit of this timer over Clockwork Tomato is that it has a task list, and it tracks your expected v. your actual pomos for a particular task.  As I mentioned in my initial post, I'm looking for a way to solve the paradox of (1) not beginning an activity AND (2) not stopping an activity.  This method is a great trick to get started on a task.  That the portion of the task started will only be 25 minutes, it is a great way to make yourself get started.

In addition to using this application as an aid to START something (v. fixin' to get ready to start something) as well as a lifeline to get out of a rabbit hole of an engrossing project, using the planning feature of expected time (in terms of number of Pomos) v. actual time.  It is a technique to train the brain to think about time.

A thing to be improved is a thing to be measured.  Accordingly, running the 50 yd dash and completing a routine report are both items that can be measured and times improved.  I've long had the discipline (only through impatience and disdain for routine) of taking routine tasks and making them quickly dispatched.  However, such improvements were vague as I have not measured the differential between the old way and the new way.

I realize that all of 'this' is simply imposing a structure over the normal course of events that unfold in a day.  But for anyone who has seriously struggled with overcoming the inertia of getting an unpleasant project out of the way (or simply underway), a single Pomodoro can be the lubricant needed to ease you into your project, if only to plan it.

I've been using the Pomo timer over the last few days to excavate my desk (and the surrounding area of my office).  It is not a pleasant task, but armed with my Pomodoro, fresh files, my Brother P-touch labeler, a shred container and a recycle container, I have moved mountains of paper --and the attendant psychological baggage that accompanies such pulp.  (I'm officially at the end of my Pomo alloted to write this post).  I'm going to cheat and use part of my break time to write these last couple of sentences.)

I'm not done, and I underallocated my Pomos.  But I have 2 more MAX pomos left on this unpleasant task.   The task that seemed overwhelming (and it surely was) was made less so by attacking it in manageable increments.
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If your natural proclivities are such that you need aids to be more in control of your life (because you are so highly intelligent, interested in everything, thinking all of the time, and lighting form subject to subject so facilely that you REALLY NEED HELP GETTING YOUR BRAIN TO STAY PUT, then I highly recommend this technique.  You can download a PDF and a cheat sheet here to get started (from the original source, no copyright issues. 

All you need is 25 minutes to get started. 

1.  Get the app for your smartphone OR download one of the many timers on the web for your computer.

2.  Click on the link above for the PDF and the cheat sheet

3.  Be flexible - not all aspects of your work life can be pomo'd.  But you can pomo MANY things (such as doing your tax return; cleaning; exercising; going through mail etc).

Mind like tomato:  Tick!  Tock!

P. S.  The pile on my desk is not 2 inches.  It is FRACTIONAL to what it was.  


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