I’ve been bemoaning – for YEARS – my inability to get organized and disciplined. I’ve tried many, many tools, apps, books, systems, and advice. I’ve been depressed, having so much time and so little efficient use of it.
The Magic Spreadsheet has solved one of these problems, making me write for 52 straight days, for 32,202 words. So I’m writing at least. But it’s still not solved completely, because I’d let myself get pulled into the lure of the Internet and email and Facebook and squander the whole freaking day, and then write at night after the kiddo went to bed. Fail.
Pomodoro – a cooler word than “tomato”
I needed something else, something in addition to the Magic Spreadsheet. And I finally bought a book on the Pomodoro Technique. I was skeptical that just a timer would “fix” me when I’d felt broken for years, but once I read the book I understood that it’s more than a timer. You have to look at your work in a different way, making lists in the morning of your plans, and then – and this is the big deal – working for the full 25 minutes on your task.
Why is that a big deal? Let me explain what the Tomato Getting Things Done plan did for my wordcount in the past two days:
My current daily wordcount goal is around 800 words. I try to push it to 1000 just to get one more coveted point on the Magic Spreadsheet. I can do this writing in less than an hour- but it takes MORE than 25 minutes. So I get to 600 or 700 words in my 25 minutes, the timer goes off, and I force myself to take a break. When I come back, I have 25 more minutes to write. Do I write just the last few hundred words? Well, I could, but if I really want to embrace this technique, my goal is to write the full 25 minutes, wordcount be damned.
The past two days I’ve logged over 1500 words both days. This is huge for me.
And other stuff is getting done, too.
It’s tough, though. I don’t have the system down completely, as I am currently guilty of messing around online before I officially start my day of pomodoros (pomodori?), but I think as I continue the program, I will work on minimizing those rabbit holes and the delays to start work.
I’ve been so disorganized for so long that I hesitate to say I’m finally getting a hold on my life, but I think I might be getting a hold on my life…
PS- if you haven’t checked out the Magic Spreadsheet, or read about it, feel free to look at it, look at the Instructions tab, and join up. Just remember it’s shared so don’t mess with anyone else’s numbers but your own.