Many freelance writers consider deadlines the bane of their existence, especially since they have a tendency to lurk around the corner until they jump right out in front of you. However, effective time management can help make these deadlines a whole lot less threatening. Unfortunately, work distractions often have a way of getting in the way of writing productivity, whether you’re checking your email, looking at social media notifications or getting something to drink.
Fast Company reports that it takes more than 23 minutes for people to get back on track with a task after they get interrupted. Writing doesn’t always happen in a single session, especially if the dreaded writer’s block pays a visit. Trying to force the words onto the page may lead to poor-quality writing or grammatical errors. Short breaks to reset the brain help, but you have to manage it without losing a lot of time and missing deadlines. That’s where the Pomodoro time management technique comes in.
What Is the Pomodoro Technique?
Francesco Cirillo, a software developer, and consultant created the Pomodoro Technique in the 1980s as a way to boost productivity for software teams. The basic concept revolves around time blocks of varying lengths. Each work block is 25-minutes long. During this period, you focus on the task that you’re working on. Once the time is up, you have a five-minute break. You repeat this cycle four times in total. At the end of the fourth 25-minute block, you take a 15-minute break.
This time management technique works well for some writers because it has the break times built into it. You don’t spend hours without any downtime trying to put together an article or finding the right research for a piece. If you run into writer’s block on one task, you can switch to another one in the next 25-minute time block. The focus blocks are long enough that you can make good progress, but aren’t so long that you get frustrated if you’re stuck on something.
How to Implement the Pomodoro Technique in Your Writing Workflow
You have a few ways to try out this time management technique. Pomodoro timer plugins are available for mobile apps, browser extensions, and other applications. Most of these software options use an on-screen timer with a vibrating or audio alarm as you go from each time block.
The popular background and white noise site MyNoise.net has a Pomodoro timer option on all of its soundscapes. If you need noise to drown out distractions while you write, this combination gives you a two-in-one tool.
Any basic alarm app or operating system feature with a countdown timer can also function as a Pomodoro timer. All it needs to do is let you set it for 25-minute time blocks.
Finally, you can get a physical Pomodoro timer. Many of these products come in a tomato shape, inspired by the Pomodoro namesake. However, kitchen timers also work well for this purpose.
Writers have to face deadlines constantly, and it’s hard to balance productive time with much-needed brain breaks. The Pomodoro Technique offers an effective way to take frequent breaks without getting off-track from your time-critical tasks. It takes some time to get used to the time blocks, but it’s an excellent way to troubleshoot time-management issues.
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