I like systems to keep me on task. Journals, lists, charts, notes, all of it. I was a kid constantly getting into trouble for doodling in class. It helped me to focus. Without it, I would fall asleep listening to the teacher’s lecture. The one time management system that I’ve stuck with is the Pomodoro technique. Pomodoro is Italian for tomato. It was conceived by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s to help him focus on his studies. It’s the simplicity of the technique that speaks to me.
- Get a timer.
- Set a timer for 25 minutes and focus on a single task until the timer is complete.
- Take a 5-minute break.
- After four Pomodoros, take a longer break. Usually about 15-30 minutes.
Francesco used a tomato-shaped kitchen timer. I use an app called “Forest”. It kind of gamifies the technique which also seems to work for me.