CHANGE IS POSSIBLE – 21 DAY CHALLENGE: WEEK 3

Welcome back once more friends, to Week 3 and your new challenge: The Pomodoro Technique.

The brainchild of Italian student, Francesco Cirillo who created it in the 1980’s, it’s a time management method of breaking down tasks into bite-sized chunks that I’d like us all to try. The idea is to set a timer for 21 minutes (25 is the recommended, but we know how much I value the number 21, so let’s stick with that!) and work on a task that needs doing for the duration on this time. When the timer beeps again, take a 5 minute break then repeat X 4 until the ‘Pomodoro’ is complete. Boom!

In case that all went right over your heads, here’s a visual to keep you on the right lines:

And that’s it folks! 3 weeks of breaking down tasks as an experiment to see whether we achieve more. Are you in? How are you doing with Challenges 1 and 2? Let me know in the comments below!

Now, go forth and Pomodoro!

Gill x

*********************

I’m a sucker for a productivity hack. Mainly because so much of life and its associated commitments overwhelm me. As an educator, The Pomodoro Technique always seemed like a good idea to me as its exactly what I do with pupils by breaking tasks down into bite-sized chunks of learning. I therefore, know how useful it is for keeping young people engaged, focused and interested in their learning. But, would it prove to be as utilitarian a productivity tool for this attention-span-of-a-goldfish teacher?

In a nutshell … yes! I loved using this technique to help organise aspects of my day and although I’m off on holiday just now and am sans work projects, it most definitely helped me get on top of a number of things I’d been putting off during term time. For example, I have winced in dismay at the piles of junk filling some of the drawers in our desk and recoiled in horror at the disordered state of my side of the wardrobe.

Months of procrastinating came to an end though by setting my timer and breaking the task down. What was most enjoyable about it is the way in which you start to see how much change you can achieve in 21 minutes … and then another 21 minutes … and then another. It turns chores and work into a big, playful game and truly made me feel more motivated. I also used it for packing for my holidays (a task I am rarely enthused by) and again, I actually started to enjoy myself doing this.

I think my main takeaway from using this technique is that it will undoubtedly, increase my organisation and output during school term time. I can already see ways in which it will help me to handle the different aspects of my teaching job eg lesson planning, marking, paperwork, emails etc, but I also feel it will be a great tool to use for my fiction writing. I’ve already used it when working on my blog and I’m looking forward to experimenting with different time divisions to keep me from getting distracted and I reckon it’ll add creative freshness to what I’m trying to convey. Watch this space.

In the throes of one of my early Pomodoros

Top Tips For Using The Pomodoro Technique

  • Use a timer, don’t just look at the clock. You’ll want to stick to exactly 21 minutes. And the ringing is a clear indication that time is up.
  • Get everything you need for the task ready before starting. Like a cook having all of the ingredients handy, prepare yourself for the session!
  • Before you start, turn off phone notifications! Because, like, you should! It makes life much less stressful. Fact.
  • Play music whilst you’re completing your tasks. This one comes with the caveat, depending upon the task you are doing. If tidying and organising, having a musical soundtrack is brilliant. If concentrating hard on something word-based, music with lyrics can be highly distracting.
  • Get physical in your 5 minute breaks. Do yoga stretches, make a cup of tea, go for a quick dander or play with your pet.

Over and out.

Gill x

That’s another fine Pomodoro completed!

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