1/19/2017: maters

“Alexa, 25 minute timer.”
“Five minute timer, starting now.” Ugh
“Alexa cancel timer.”
“Five minute timer cancelled.”
“Alexa, 25 minute timer.”
“There are currently no timers.” Son of a…
*turn around, stare right at the damn thing, enunciating like I’m on stage, or…well…drinking*
“Alexa, twenty five minute timer.”
“25 minute timer, starting now.” FINALLY.

I keep forgetting how well it all works, and thus my ADD brain just spins off in to the stratosphere, looking for fake internet points on imgur or reddit, or sniping at leftists on twitter. Suddenly hours will go by.

One of the best methods I’ve ever encountered for keeping me on task is “The Pomodoro Method“…technique, whatever.

First of all, it’s only named “pomodoro” because the guy who started it used a tomato shaped kitchen timer.

The idea is simple as can be. Pick a task, something a little beefy. “Laundry” or…uhm… “post about The Pomodoro Technique” for instance (hypomathetically, of course) and start a timer for 25 minutes. Once you start, do nothing but work on that until the timer goes off. If you finish, great. But if you don’t, then “pencils down, step away.” Seriously, stop.

Take five minutes for (ahem) bio breaks, to get up and walk around. Then take the next task, start a 25 minute timer, and go again. Repeat for ‘some number’ of iterations before taking a half hour break. (I forget what he says the optimum number is.)

You can get arbitrarily crazy with this by doing things like planning your tomato slots for the day or …well… there’s not really all that much to it. So I’m not sure how much “crazier” you can make this.

But I can do anything for 25 minutes. An hour? That starts stretching out a bit. My mind will definitely start wandering by that time and my effectiveness will drop precipitously.

One thing I like to do (when I can be arsed to do this, which frankly is NOT frequently enough) is to take a couple few big tasks and to rotate through them. Yeah, the net productivity almost certainly drops when context switching back and forth through tasks. But on the whole, I’m able to “keep things interesting and therefore productive” for a greater number of tasks and it nets out in my favor.

One thing I love about it is that working on a task, even if it’s not to completion, for the whole time span IS a positively reinforcing accomplishment on its own. If find this invaluable if my project is a deathmarch of some kind (which most of them generally are) like “clean the livingroom.”

Cleaning the livingroom for 25 minutes is easy. Cleaning the livingroom to perfection is nigh impossible. I can’t see the end of the task, so my “what’s the use” circuit engages and I go back to playing stupid fucking computer games (which, aside from some light Fallout Shelter, I haven’t done in many weeks. This is NOT to say that I’ve been using the time WISEly, by any means. But…eh, I digress.)

To be perfectly honest, I don’t know if it’s worth buying the book. I’m pretty sure I did that when it came out and skimmed through it really quickly. But I don’t recall enough to remember. And, since just about my entire library was lost in the move (well “lost” in that I deprived myself of it, not that it “went missing”. I know exactly where the hell it all went.)

There are treatments of the technique all over ye olde internet. But there’s really not much more to it than that. There are apps for your mobile device. There are websites and applications that will let you push a button and it will count down ’til the end.

If you have trouble getting things done, I highly recommend it.

“Alexa how much time left.”
“You have one timer with about 10 minutes left.”

Not bad. This would absolutely have taken me an hour of dithering if I hadn’t set a timer. almost 700 words in 15 minutes? If I could write fiction at that speed I’d be in great shape. *looks down* well…you know what I mean.