For as long as I can remember, my days are filled to the brim and I’m dabbling into multiple projects. In high school, I was on the dance team while taking a full course load, a Thespian, and student government while attending honors society meetings after school. In college, I nannied, worked part time, and was a student athlete. Post grad, I had 8 part time jobs, and after taking on my first “big girl job”, I still had a hospitality job at night to make ends meet.
Truth is, I kind of like the crazy sometimes. I love the dynamics of different projects and having different aspects of work and creating relationships from a myriad of sectors and media. Over the years, I’ve gotten to embrace my learning and working style, and found ways to make use of my time. Work smarter instead of harder, right?
Now the adult version of myself (well, a girl can try) I have to hunker down and get a bottomless to-do list checked off during the week. With 24 hours in a day, I want to use them wisely. I was introduced to something called The Pomodoro Method at a work retreat, and found it helpful in consolidating my time and solely focusing on my tasks.
It was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the eighties, and was created for productivity, time management, and focus. Blame it on the attention economy, blame it on being a millennial, it’s hard to sit and crank work out for 8 hours a day, who’s with me? I’ve found through trial and error that honing in on a process that works is a win when it comes to balance and feeling accomplished by the end of the day. This is something that clicked, as it promotes working in intervals.
Without further ado, here’s how the Pomodoro Method works…
- 25 minute work sessions, followed by a 5 minute break. This is one time block, or focus period.
- Repeat 3 more times.
- After 4 time blocks, take a 30 minute break.
We got this!
Dee’s customized Pomodoro:
I start my day writing out my tasks or checklist and a big cup of coffee. That way, I have a blueprint going into my work day. I also like to put my phone away and have distractions out, to fully respect my focus periods. In those 5 minutes of freedom, this is when I allow guiltless Instagram scrolling, or a quick phone call, putting the kettle on, stretching (let that blood flow!), or a quick snack.
The great thing about this is that it’s not set in concrete…make this work for you. If you work better in 1 hour spurts or you have a huge load of work, adjust the timings to make it fit your lifestyle. The important takeaway is that you should organize your time and set aside devoted working blocks to achieve your tasks. The breaks are just as essential as the work intervals, to give your brain a quick refresh. Walk around, meditate!
Especially as creatives, our days can be a mash-up of emails/admin/writing/invoicing/creating/meetings, etc., and this method gives that hodgepodge some time frames to take care of those things.
Are your tasks being checked off? Are the dedicated time blocks more efficient? Try it out, let us know what you think!
There are apps that help with timing, and for beginners, I’d start with the Pomodoro Tracker to test and feel it out! Give it a go.