I suck at time management. I really do. A couple months ago this is how a typical day for me went….
- Get kids to school
- Drink coffee and get sucked into the internet for several hours
- Eat lunch maybe
- Check email/IG/facebook
- Get sucked into the internet some more
- Maybe work on project life or knit or do some laundry
- Look at the clock and realize it’s almost time for the kids to come home
- Work like a crazy woman for an hour scrambling to get ALL the things done. All. The. Things.
- Kids walk in the door and I wonder where the day went
That’s how it went for real. Ugggg. It was awful. There were so many things I wanted/needed to get done, but I would see something shiny and pretty on the internet, and I was done for. One link would lead me to another, then another, then another and my day would be wasted. It’s not always the internet though. It could be a project that I’m just taking way too long on, or I’d do too many “fun” projects and not enough family oriented ones (like letting the laundry sit and sit because I want to knit, ect). Can you all relate?!
I knew it was a time management issue, so I went to the App Store to see if there was an app to help me get things done (there always an app). That’s where I came across the Pomodoro Timer app, which led me to the Pomodoro Technique. It’s method of productivity developed in the 1980’s. Take a minute and watch this video…
- Decide on the task to be done
- Set the Pomodoro timer to x minutes (traditionally 25)
- Work on the task until the timer rings
- Take a short break (3–5 minutes)
- After four Pomodoros, take a longer break (15–30 minutes)
That’s it! The idea is that taking breaks can improve mental agility. I think it does. It’s supposed to help you be more productive. It’s DOES! It’s supposed to help you not feel like a lazy ass. It most certainly does!!
Right at this moment, as I’m typing this blog post out, my Pomodoro timer is counting down to my first break. When the timer sounds that’s when I will check IG or facebook. When the timer sounds again I will start on my next task, which in this case is “finish the pomodoro blog post”. So, for example, here is what I did yesterday using the Pomodoro Technique. I try and complete 10 Pomodoros per day. Each numbered task was 25 minutes exactly.
1. Cleaned the kitchen
5 minute break – perused IG
2. Painted Ansley’s bookcase
5 minute break – knitted
3. Started a new art book
5 minute break – Facebook
4. Folded laundry and cleaned up my closet a bit
15 minute break – ate something and had some coffee
5. Worked on a blog post
5 minute break – IG
6. Played around with double exposures on the Instax
5 minute break – IG
7. Sorted through a stack of mail and school papers
5 minute break – snuggled with Louie
8. Vacuumed and mopped my office
15 minute long break – ate more food and flipped through my planner
9. Cleaned the downstairs bathroom
5 minutes break – IG
When the timer goes off I stop what I’m doing completely and make myself take a break, even if I don’t want to. Apparently, that’s really important for your brain to function more efficiently. So on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays I do this technique (because Thursdays and Fridays I work at the yarn shop).
The kids leave at 8. I spend from 8 to 9 writing out that day’s tasks. This is also when I might read blogs, check our money and fidget with the budget, or check out Pinterest. That hour is free. Then I start my day at 9 and usually have enough time to finish all the Pomodoros before the kids get home from school.
Here are today’s Pomodoros…
- Write Pomodoro blog post
- Finish blog post, take a picture for it, and publish
- Knit (yes, for me knitting is a task and can also be a break)
- Work on art book
- Fill Ansley’s bookcase
- Prep for this week’s album spread, upload photos to dropbox, prep for “week in the life”, etc
- Straighten up living room and set out kids’ tennis stuff
That’s it! This is how I’ve been accomplishing things for the past 6 weeks or so, and I’m so incredibly pleased. I hope you try it!