I’m writing this post because today marks the start of a writing bootcamp. I will be turning in 2,500 words a week for the next four weeks, and others on the bootcamp will be turning in between 1,000 and 10,000 words. No one is going to read them, but we’re holding each other accountable for getting words on paper.
2,500 words doesn’t sound like very much. But shall I tell you how many words I’ve written this week?
I’m not sure what it is I’ve been doing, but apparently it’s anything other than writing.
So I thought to kick things off, (do these words count towards the 2,500? You bet your ass they do) I’d write about writing.
Yes, I am procrastinating.
But bear with me. This is a useful technique and the only thing that has kept me on the straight and narrow when I have been on the straight and narrow.
The Pomodoro technique
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management technique developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s.
The idea is that you work in 25 minute chunks, with short breaks in between. The word ‘pomodoro’ means tomato in Italian. The technique is named after the tomato shaped timer Francesco used as a student.
I bought one of these in January and I use it every time I write. Somehow the quiet ticking keeps me on task. Deep work is tricky to get into but when you’ve a metronome ticking away in the background it keeps the mind focussed.
Tick. Tick. Tick.
So to do the Pomodoro technique, you set your tomato timer for 25 minutes (and you don’t need a tomato shaped timer for this!) and you work solidly, with no interruptions, on the task at hand. Put your mobile on airplane mode, lock the kids in the shed.
Then when the timer buzzes, you take 5 minutes off. Do something completely different. You keep a record of your pomodoros and breaks on a sheet of paper. Do four at a time and then take a longer break of 20-30 minutes.
After a while you start to get a feel for how many pomodoros each writing task will take.
If you have top productivity tips, for writing or anything else (cleaning productivity tips extremely welcome), please drop me a note in the comments.
Wish us luck! I’ll report back once the bootcamp is finished on June 11th.