In the past 2 1/2 weeks I’ve lost 8 lbs. (on my way to 30 lbs. over the next 3 months,) and I owe it all to pomodoros!
Now when I say, “pomodoros” I’m not actually talking about tomatoes. I have not gone on a tomato only, tomato infused, or tomato juice diet. Quite the opposite actually. The only time I eat tomatoes is when they’re in a burger or made into sauce on a pizza.
The pomodoros I’m talking about are increments of time. I learned about them from my one-day-older-than-me CEO, Chris Tuttle. He’d come upon an online marketer who subscribed to a system known as “The Pomodoro Technique.” It is a time management system that I’ve found to really work well!
The Pomodoro Technique
The pomodoro technique is simply this: For 25 minutes (strictly timed,) you work. You only work. You work on a project that you’ve pre-determined, and you don’t interrupt yourself with outside distractions (see: new emails, facebook, twitter, texts, etc.) At the end of the 25 minute session (known as a “pomodoro,”) you take a break, recharge, and get ready for the next session! At the end of 4 pomodoros, you take a longer break (a lunch, a 25-minute twitter/facebook/texting session, whatever!)
I’ve found this technique to be so effective because I know that a break is never far off! It also encourages me to do things that contribute to my productivity; instead of listening to sports talk radio while I work, I might listen to music. This small change keeps me focused on the project at hand instead of making me want to text/tweet in a comment to the radio show host.
I’ve even found that at the start of the day, when my energy is fresh, two back-to-back-to-back triple pomodoro sessions (no breaks until after the third one) are a GREAT way to get the biggest projects I have done! This usually takes me from 9:30 to about 1:30 (two 1.5 hour sessions with 20-25 min. breaks in between) and helps me accomplish most of the main projects I have. This leaves the second half of the day open to responding to emails, smaller projects, study, etc.
But pomodoros aren’t the best part…
Creating a Habit
It’s often said that we are creatures of habit. What does that mean?
In many contexts, it means that we revert to that which we are habitually drawn to. So, for a person like myself who is comfortable with alone time and watching movies or browsing the internet at home, reverting to habit may simply mean not going out and doing anything all night, even on a weekend. For my friend Fabio (not his real name) who is naturally drawn to activity/constant movement, reverting to habit may mean driving somewhere to do anything, regardless of how superfluous that activity might be. He’s drawn to movement. It’s his habit.
Well, what happens when we very proactively begin to form habits? We then create an ability to, by default, accomplish the things that we want to! For example, kneeling in prayer before entering my bed at night or leaving it in the morning has become a habit. It’s something I do by default. It’s something I have chosen to do so many times that it is now a (positive) default action!
Now let’s replace the word “habit” with “routine.” That is what I’ve been trying to create, and that is what has helped me lose the weight. You see, I have created a few simple routines that trigger the habits I’m trying to facilitate.
My Morning Routine-
Each morning I awake at 8:00 am (even when I don’t “have” to,) I “snooze” until 8:15, then lie in bed checking emails, social media updates, news articles, etc. until 8:30. At 8:30 I pray, shower, dress, eat, and prepare my things to leave to work. By 9:15 I’m out the door and driving to work. Or, on weekends, I’m ready to clean my room, cook, get laundry done, or whatever else! It’s a routine. It’s a habit. It works for me.
My Workout Routine-
At the end of each workday Monday-Thursday I pack up my things at the office, change into my workout clothes (I’m convinced that doing so before leaving the office makes the difference,) and drive to the gym. Once I’m there, I sit in my car and listen to a song while changing my focus from working to working out. At the end of the song, I’m ready to go in and start my workout! Each workout is structured the same, though I change the excercises each day. So far, I have neither missed a workout nor cheated myself on time.
Be Careful *When* You Pomodoro
If this all sounds good to you, like perhaps something you might want to try, this next paragraph may be the most important of all:
Be careful when you “Pomodoro.” Stay focused on things you want to accomplish, but NEVER schedule a pomodoro you won’t keep. I don’t use pomodoros on nights/weekends, because they are mine. If I want to sit down and do some work on a night/weekend (an important task) then I might enlist a pomodoro’s help. Otherwise, I simply allow myself to use the extra discipline that I’m developing throught my focus during pomodoros and my faithfulness to my routines. If you don’t allow yourself time to sharpen the blade, it becomes very dull. You are the blade. Allow yourself time to relax.
Because, as they say, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!
What do you do to try to stay focused? Are you going to try the pomdoro technique? Comment below!