I want to share with you a great task management technique that will help you complete everything you want and still have time left over at the end of the day. The technique is called the Pomodoro technique. I could spend a long time trying to describe it and do a fairly good job, or I could send you over to Chris Winfield’s site and have you get his free eBook. So go there, get the book. Below is a quick overview but really the best thing to do is get the book and read through it.
A Pomodoro is simple. It is a 30 minute block of time. For the first 25 minutes you focus on one task and only one task. Set a timer. This is very important. Then once the timer goes off, no matter what you are doing or where you are in your task you take a 5 minute break. Then you repeat. After 3 Pomodoro’s then take a 15 minute break.
That is it, very simple, very easy to implement.
I have a lot going on. I am writing nearly every day. I have several new teachers in my building that I am contacting everyday. I am analyzing a lot of data. It is also second semester as I write this and we have State tests in 9 subjects, the ACT, the PSAT, and I am in charge of all AP testing. It is a very busy time for me.
I have been using the Pomodoro for about 2 months now and I really don’t feel stressed. I sit down when I get to school and write what my most important things that I have to get done for the day are. Then I simply start the Pomodoro process and plow through them.
When Interruptions Occur
Most of my day is spent putting out fires. If I go get interrupted then I approximate where I was when I was interrupted and reset the timer. Usually it would take me about 15 to 20 minutes to really get back into working on what I was working on before the interruption. Now I am back focused in about 5 minutes and usually am much more focused on the work I need to accomplish.
Using it in Meetings
I even use the technique in meetings. Sometimes explicitly as in telling everyone “I am going to set a timer for 25 minutes and we are going to accomplish X then take a break”, or I simply schedule the meeting so that every 25 minutes or so we are changing tasks in what we are doing. This makes the meeting way more productive and my teachers leave with a much better sense of accomplishment.
Once again go over to Chris Winfield’s site and get his eBook and start implementing it today. If you have any questions I will be very happy to answer them below.