25 minutes to increased productivity for writers: The Pomodoro Technique

How authors can use The Pomodoro Technique to improve focus on their work in 25 minute blocks

Pomodoro technique for writers to focus

Have you lost your ability to focus? Has TikTok destroyed your attention span? Do you find yourself wanting to swipe forward through a tedious conversation because it can no longer hold your attention? Do you sit down to write your manuscript and within minutes start thinking about those burnt caramel almonds? Perhaps you should try The Pomodoro Technique to help you focus. 

I first heard about The Pomodoro Technique from a good friend of mine who used it through university to get her through her speech therapy course. 

The Pomodoro Technique is a productivity method developed in the 1980s by Francesco Cirillo. It helps you break down large tasks into smaller ones, to get more done and increase your focus. This technique takes advantage of the idea that all humans are limited to about 25 minutes of intense concentration before they start getting distracted or tired.

What is The Pomodoro Technique and how does it work?

You need to create a 25 minute work session, followed by a short break (usually around five minutes). You then repeat this process four times before taking an extended break of 30-60 minutes.

How to get started with The Pomodoro Technique

Use a timer - many people use their phone timer or an app. I personally use Focus Keeper - which is free and easy to use or you can use the free timer on desktop or mobile Pomodoro Timer Online.

Make a commitment - decide on what you want to get done and commit to it. Write out the tasks that you want to achieve in the day. Break them down into 25 minute chunks. It's amazing how much you can get done in blocks of 25 minutes.

Know when you are most focused, and assign the most difficult tasks in that period. For instance, if I know my focus is best from 11am until 12pm (after I have my mid-morning coffee!), I'll allocate my most challenging tasks for 11am-12.30pm (3 Pomodoros).

Because The Pomodoro Technique is focused on working in periods of 25 minutes without interruption, you can divide these intervals up any way you like and set your own goals. 

Remember don't let yourself get too distracted or overstimulated when taking breaks.

Examples of what a writer can do in a 25 minute Pomodoro block without interruption:

draft 250 words of a manuscript
edit 5 pages of written words
research
outline a blog post

So give it a go. Seriously, this can be one of the best productivity tools for writers that can help you improve your focus, stay on task and reward yourself with a break after the 25 minute period!

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Pro-tip: 
Keep track of all your research notes and ideas in Evernote - a writer's best friend. Photograph marginalia in a book and use the optical character recognition in Evernote to find that quote! You'll never lose an idea again!

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