A personal reflection on living life by the pomodoro technique.
In his introduction to the well-recognized book, The Success Principles, Jack Canfield emphasizes that his principles do work. But he emphasizes: for the principles to work, you have to work the principles! And the secret to success with the pomodoro technique is just that.
I did a quick analysis of this technique in an earlier post and I have admired the principle for years. I really do wish that putting on a timer and hustling till it goes off was thoroughly ingrained into my system. But I am not there yet. I have the days where I manage to complete one round and it takes off from there so I can do at least one more if not several. Unfortunately, there are many days where I do not revert to the timer at all. I have this accountability issue with a lot of things including this technique and checking back with my agenda for prioritizing and reminders.
I have now completed 25 of these cycles. 25 x 25 = 625 minutes spent living a better life and getting things done. As far as I have managed to push myself to keep using this technique, there is no doubt, that it does work whenever I use it dependably. Here are 12 reasons that this technique is a part of my strategy for a better life:
- Racing against time is super motivating. I have always been terrible at video games but the feeling can be compared to the same rush. Even better, the results and rewards actually manifest in reality.
- With the timer ticking away, my mindset is focused on just doing and to keep moving things forward. I do what I know first. I have to prioritize outside of the 25-minute segments.
- I am becoming more aware of how long it takes to get certain things done. Some take more time than expected while other tasks, that I procrastinate on a lot, I am embarassed to say take no time at all. Collecting my laundry and putting it into the washer takes less than 10 minutes for me and yet I cannot stop hating the task.
- The technique breaks things into baby steps and short-term focus on getting things done. No intimidation of planning out a whole day, month or year. The pressure is only to survive a mere 25 minutes.
- At the end of 25 minutes used well, I feel a boost in my confidence. What a great feeling. Sometimes, it makes me want to keep going, but I do enforce the breaks now to avoid burning out my motivation and energy too quickly.
- I have a really bad habit of flipping between different things that need to get done. While it is not time spent slacking off, I am using up energy and motivation with each short-lived attempt and have little to show for it in exchange. I have observed that this tendency is greatly decreased during my pomodoro cycles. I do one thing at a time, which is the best way.
- It keeps the phone and social media at bay. What could happen on Instagram or Whatsapp that cannot wait 25 minutes? This is a big pro for the technique: one cycle is short enough that people can actually focus for its duration.
- If a cycle is interrupted (a few seconds is excusable), then the timer starts again from the start. I really stay away from disrupting cycles but other people cannot always be controlled. This bothers me so I try to get people to wait if I am near the end or just stop if it is still early. I just hit pause if it is a quick question that will not make me lose my rhythm. But overall, the rules enforce that I complete a full cycle, especially since I am keeping a tally on my progress tracker.
- It is helping me to give a part of my day to hobbies and habits that I have lost but really want to include in my life: reading, exercise, and writing.
- A lot of YouTube videos on cleaneliness emphasize regular maintenance when it comes to keeping the home looking and feeling good. Whether you need a rare deep clean or just maintaining and keeping up with chores, the 25-minute routine is a great fit.
- I can see the results when I complete these cycles with frequency. Everything is cleaner and more organized; items are getting crossed off the checklist; my mind and physical space is less crowded and overwhelming. People are happier working with me and I am happy with myself.
- Discipline Equals Freedom: This is a really impactful book. Follow the link to read some interesting excerpts and my thoughts. Discipline is truly empowering for helping us to build the life we really want and getting away from the couch and Netflix. 25 minutes is a great technique to instil that discipline and create better habits. And indeed, I do feel more free after being productive. I am free of all the tasks that were weighing me down when incomplete and I feel that my dreams and goals are closer within my reach.
- Complete another 25 cycles or 625 minutes by the end of September.
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