Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Get your tomato ticking


 











At the weekend I attended the Scattered Authors Society conference in Peterborough. It was a brilliant and inspiring weekend. I caught up with old friends, made some new ones and felt honoured to be among such a talented group of children’s writers.


There were great talks on everything from the editing process by the brilliant Lee Weatherly to how to get the best from blogging and Twitter by the ‘crabbit old bat ‘herself, Nicola Morgan (who is very lovely and uncrabbity in real life).


One that seems to have had us all rushing to try out new ways of working was a talk by Jacob Sager Weinstein, author of the hilariously titled How not to kill your baby, among other things, in which he introduced something known as the Pomodoro Technique.


Ever heard of it? No, neither had we...


The website for the guy who thought this up is here but in a nutshell, the idea is that you set a timer for 25 minutes uninterrupted working time. The Pomodoro bit comes from those cute timers shaped like tomatoes, but I just used my boring old kitchen timer. During that 25 minutes, you are not allowed to do ANYTHING but work. And yes, that means you don't check your email, go on Twitter/Facebook/, make a cup of tea, go to the toilet, Hoover the dog or feed the house (believe me, my procrastination techniques can be very inventive). You WORK.


When the 25 minutes is up, you set the timer for a five minute break, in which you can do all of the above. Then you set the timer for another 25 minutes and get cracking again.

As Jacob said, even the most addicted sadsack can stay focused for 25 minutes.

 I tried this today and I can tell you that it is a brilliant method. I think I got more work done than I have for ages and I really stuck to it. The shame of not being able to concentrate for a measly 25 minutes acts as a great deterrant.

Others have found the stopwatch function on their iPhone to work as well and even on your desktop computer there is bound to be some function of this kind.

 I have to admit to being a bit tempted to buy a proper pomodoro shaped timer...

 But if I decide to go for it, I’ll make sure I do my browsing during a five minute break.




9 comments:

Chris Stovell said...

I'm tomato-phobic! Seeing your post pop-up as a thumbnail beside my blog today made me feel quite weak at the knees and not in a good way! The timing technique works well though!

Miriam Halahmy said...

Lovely! I haven't got my ticking tomato yet - but I certainly made sure I didn't get up before 25 minutes the day after I got home from the Conference and it really works!!

Small Blonde Hippy said...

Sounds like an interesting technique. I'll give it a whirl. I'd definitely need a tomato timer though, to give it some novelty value. Ebay, here I come!

Helen Black said...

Sounds like a plan.
HB x

Caroline Green said...

Miriam, don;t tell me you did that without the aid of any timer at all? If so, RESPECT!

Thanks for your comments everyone. It's really worth trying, this.

Chris, are you seriously phobic about tomatoes? Is it because you hate the taste????

Debs Riccio said...

Oooh I like that idea. I'm deeply ashamed of my attention span (that of a gnat or worse).

Chris Stovell said...

I am seriously phobic about tomatoes - but they started it! I'm allergic to uncooked tomatoes so now I feel ill at the sight of anything that looks like a tomato! Aargh!

Susie Nott-Bower said...

Ah, Chris, you should organise a 'tomato pop up' whenever you log on to Facebook - would concentrate the mind wonderfully! My version would be a chalk being screeched down a blackboard...
Susiex

Chris Stovell said...

Susie - you are a genius! *scurrying off to find...eek... tomato pop-up*