I’m loving playing with the Pomodoro Technique (you can get a free copy of the ebook there – and a brief description that will get you started if you’re interested).
The basic concept is that you set a timer for 25 minutes and work on whatever project is in front of you for an un-interrupted period of time. Then, you take a break – no exceptions. The first few rounds (3 or so), you take a 5 minute break, then after you do several rounds you take a 20 minute break. I’ve done different versions of it on my own for years, but like the structure of this.
The other day, even though I only had a few slots of time in between other work, I got a ton done – with chunks of time that normally would have been wasted and filled up with things like perusing through email, updating Facebook etc. All those things need to happen, but if you have a 30 minute window, and can use 25 of those minutes on an important project, fitting email in at other times makes a whole lot of sense.
Give it a try and let me know what you think.
Oh, and you need a timer. I’ve talked about using a timer before, it’s essential to getting things done – at least in my opinion. Whether your timer ticks or not is up to you. Some people find that motivates them and makes them feel excited, like they are racing the clock. Others just find it annoying (I’m in the latter category, so my timer is silent).
A couple of other things about timers – my favorite ones allow me to punch in the number of minutes on a keypad, like a calculator. I don’t enjoy the process of holding down a button to try and get to the right number of minutes, and having something beep at me as the numbers go up.
Here’s one like the one I use (mine’s from Radio Shack, but I got it years ago):