Spring Forward | Pomo-DO!

Tonight we Spring forward, losing a precious hour of sleep and gaining a welcomed hour of daylight.  Each year the change gets a wee bit more difficult.  There is still snow lingering; but with temperatures in the mid-60's today, not for long.

I have a second week of Pomodoro time inculcation under my belt.  I found a tool that has an integrated phone/desktop app   http://www.teamviz.com/help/pomodoro-timer-for-windows-7/  It's not the greatest app, but it has planning features that the others don't.  Sadly it does not have some customization features that others have.

If anything, this technique builds a mind memory (e.g. muscle memory for your brain!)of what you can(not) do in 25 minutes.  This week, I used it to build a task list within a large project.  Generally, my habit (and it is not a very good one) is to hurl myself into a project (or maybe lurch like a bulldozer getting in gear).  And while being a bulldozer allows one to accomplish quite a bit, all that shoveling and pushing gets tiresome.

But this Pomodoro technique is very much a new trick for this old dog.  And my only wish is that I had found it sooner.  This technique is not an all or nothing implementation--though as I read around the web, I see that some have classified it this way.  Frankly, I have found it a little daunting trying to integrate it into my entire day.  But that is my goal.  Rather, I will suggest how one can ease into the Pomodoro Technique.

Here's how to start your own Pomo-DO! habits.

Objective:  Use the Pomodoro technique to manage some aspect(s) of your day where you need to overcome inertia, or simply get something out of the way.

Tools needed:  A timer that visually and/or audibly (preferably both) that will register 25 minutes.  (Here's two resource links, one for your computer; one for your phone)

Method:  Identify 3 items in everyday life that you wish to apply 25 minutes of your focused time and energy.   Pick something that is providing you with some daily anxiety-- full email in box, mail piled up, laundry piled up, room that needs cleaning, project that needs starting but you just have not sat down to scope it out.  The important thing is that you will allow yourself no interruptions.  No bathroom.  No drink.  No email.  (Though watching TV and laundry go hand in hand!)

Clock Setting:  25 minutes.  Go!  Fold, clean, cook, manage email, start your project plan (heck start your project list!).  Tick tock.  You can here the clock ticking, so you are cognizant of every second.

RINGGGG.  Write down what you accomplished.  How you felt.  Gage what you produced.

Yield:  25 minutes of uninterrupted productivity in the task that you outlined.

For my everyday Pomo-DO!, I have the following:
  • day planning (25 minutes to plan my day -- what projects to scope, budget, perform and finish)
  • exercise (25 minutes of outside time (no matter what the weather))
  • cleaning (25 minutes of picking up or cleaning).

What does 25 minutes a day get you in time currency for the week:
  •   2.92 hours of exercise
  •   2.92 hours of cleaned space
  •   2.92 hours of thoughtfully planned daily time allocation.  We have 16 hours a day.  For a week we have 112 hours of time.  If we spend just 2.92 hours a week planning  (2.62% of our available time) that time, just think how much more productive we would be.
 I have some time still before this focus becomes a habit.  I'm committed to starting week three.  I'm finding this a very fun and engaging way to manage my time. A reminder of my heart rate monitoring for exercise that kept me engaged and focused on continuous improvement. 

(P. S.  I found that a watch that is ticking fast (2x per second) produces a stress response in me v. a second by second tick.  Consider that as you choose your techniqe.

I've spent 2 v. the 1 pomo budgeted on this blog post (because I did some more 'research').  I've already done my exercise pomo.  Now to clean.  I have 3 Pomo's scheduled for that today.


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