As another writing hack video, I'm tackling the Pomodoro technique for writers. This is one of my time management tips for keeping focused and on schedule during my writing sessions.
Welcome back to another writing hack post. This week is writing sprints using the Pomodoro Technique or at least a version of it for me. Here's a quick description of the Pomodoro Technique from Google.
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management system that encourages people to work with the time they have instead of against it. Using this method, you break down your workday into 25-minute segments separated by five-minute breaks. These intervals are referred to as pomodoros.
For years I've implemented writing sprints into my writing sessions. For each session, I would turn on my writing music and then a timer before I got started. And the timer was either on my phone if I was away from my office or the native timer on my PC. My writing sessions used to consist of 20-minute segments one right after another. And it kept me off social media for about 20-minutes at a time. Most of the time I was just getting into my groove by the time the 20-minute session was up. And I would jump right back into social media right after.
Stay tuned for the end of this post, where I talk about my bonus tip about how I cured my social media obsession during writing sessions.
This method worked for me for years, even though there were times that I was unproductive during these 20-minute sessions. And then I came across one of Kate Cavanaugh's videos where she talked about the Pomodoro Technique. If you don't follow her I sincerely recommend you should. She has been killing it this last year with her "I tried writing like..." videos.
Kate mentioned this technique, and I was stunned to realize that my sort of technique had a name. After researching the method, I bumped up my writing sprints to 25-minutes with a timed five-minute break. Since I usually write from 5:00-7:00 AM, 25-minutes was the perfect amount of time for me to start and finish a cup of coffee. And then I would take my 5-minute break to go downstairs, get a new cup of coffee and also sift through my feeds for a little bit until that time was up. I needed this little reminder to get off my phone, or get off Twitter, to get back to work.
The full Pomodoro Technique is usually four of these Pomodoro sessions and then a longer break in between. And since I write in the mornings for two hours, I had just enough time to do these four intervals, and then the longer break would be me getting ready for my day.
This method seems to work for me now. It has boosted my motivation, increased my productivity, and I highly recommend this technique or at least trying it out.
Also in conjunction with the Comic Sans writing hack, which I mentioned in the last post, this hack can help anyone who believes that they don't have enough writing time in their day. Throughout the years, my life has changed a lot: going from a full-time job and writing and publishing to making publishing and writing my full-time job. So, I have tried a lot of techniques, and I think anyone can fit in at least twenty minutes a day to get some writing done. Whether you are a parent or not, or have a full-time job, or are a full-time parent, this technique is worth a try.
Now for that bonus tip. Sometimes it’s hard to balance social media on top of life. Especially if I'm working on a chapter I'm not particularly motivated to write. Along with the timer staring at me and counting down the seconds until the end of my writing sprint, I have found that site blockers helped me out. Recently I found the Freedom app to work so well for me. Even though I do have that timer, at times it can be a little bit easy to just click over to Twitter, or Instagram, or my email and get lost for way longer than I mean to. Having these site blockers to remind me that I cannot look at my email until seven, or I can't go on Twitter until that time helps my productivity and keeps me focused on the writing.
I did try this app with the free version, and I found that I loved it, but currently I do have the paid version which allows you to schedule certain times throughout the week. My schedule is Monday-Friday between 5:00 and 7:00. I cannot go on any social media apps, I cannot go on my email, and it has worked well for me. There are so many of them out there I do think that for me at least, these two things the writing sprints and the site blockers work in conjunction to give me a productive writing session.
Let me know in the comments if writing sprints work for you or if you're interested in trying them out to add to your writer toolbox.
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Author. Dreamer. Storyteller.