Saturday, 18 September 2010

Time Management

My attention span and motivation are a little bit shot, so I was worrying how I'm going to cope with my upcoming course.  By sheer good luck I was reading an article by  Charlie Brooker and within it was this little gem about time management.

It's called the Pomodoro Technique  and seems straight forward, sensible and something that I can handle quite easily.  It's sort of like setting mini deadlines for yourself, and I know I work better to a deadline than some vague time in the future, as that usually means whatever job I'm trying to get done, just doesn't get done at all.

By the way Pomodoro is Italian for tomato.  Well, I didn't know that!

Francesco Cirillo created the Pomodoro Technique™ in 1992. It is now practiced by professional teams and individuals around the world. 

You need an egg timer, which is the actual Pomodoro, note pad and writing implements, they recommend pencils. You then write down tasks for the day and overall goals.  When the Pomodoro, or egg timer, rings, it heralds the end of that particular time slot and you then take a short break.

It's slightly like a time and motion study set on yourself, and we all know how much we get done with a stop watch and the beady eye of the time and motion officer watching and timing our every move.  Although this isn't really for speed, it's for focusing yourself on the job in hand, knowing you're going to have a break to do something more enjoyable at a predetermined time.  It sounds such a cool idea, and simple, as so many good ideas are.

 The basic unit of work in the Pomodoro Technique™ can be split in five simple steps:
Choose a task to be accomplished
Set the Pomodoro to 25 minutes (the Pomodoro is the timer)
Work on the task until the Pomodoro rings, then put a check on your sheet of paper
Take a short break (5 minutes is OK)
Every 4 Pomodoros take a longer break

I'm aiming to set out my task list for the day and make myself concentrate on the job in hand until I hear the break time whistle, this is really just for my studying but I can see it being useful in so many ways.

It doesn't set huge unachievable goals, the time of a pomodoro is 25 minutes, after that you take a short break. After 4 pomodoro's take a longer break of up to 30 minutes, in this way you should be totally focused on that particular task for the length of each pomodoro.

Right, off I go, I'll let you know how it goes once I've got my pomodoro up and running, in the meantime here is a summary of the method, and the whole book can be downloaded free from the site linked at the top of this post.

Summary of Pomodoro Technique     

Good luck:-)

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