One of our favorite techniques for time management in our writing time is using the Pomodoro Technique. In this episode of the Writing Momentum podcast, Chris and Gena discuss how to deal with distractions and how to put the Pomodoro Technique into practice as an author and writer.
EPisode 22 Transcription:
[00:00:13].680] - Gena Hi, everybody. Welcome into the Writing Momentum Podcast. My name is Gena Maselli, and I'm here with my husband, Christopher Maselli. How are you doing? [00:00:21].010] - Chris Hey, what's up? I'm doing well. [00:00:22].870] - Gena I'm so glad you're here. [00:00:24].600] - Chris Yeah. Well, you know, there's no place I would rather be. [00:00:29].210] - Gena That's awesome. Okay. So we are talking today. If you haven't heard, Chris and I are pretty excited about some new initiatives that we're doing with Writing Momentum to hopefully help writers write better, write faster, and just get their work done. [00:00:47].930] - Chris You probably have heard because we have been feeling like we've talked about these Writing Moments on this podcast we've talked about. And we've been doing lives on Facebook and all that and some other sites, too, like we've been broadcasting to Facebook and LinkedIn and Twitter and Instagram and all that's. been kind of new for us. But that's been fun. Yes. And we've been posting things on Pinterest, and we're trying to make it so that you can't go to a social media site without stumbling across. [00:01:13].210] - Gena Without stumbling. [00:01:14].050] - Chris Without writing. [00:01:16].190] - Gena Exactly. So we're just trying to get the word out. [00:01:19].770] - Chris We apologize for being annoying. We're not trying to annoy you. [00:01:24].450] - Gena We're not trying to be too obnoxious. But here's the thing. These Writing Moments that we have started are using a technique that Chris has used for a long time. He's used it not only in his writing, but in his business as well for a long time and has even taught it to our kids in their school work. So this has been something that's been really successful for him. I think I kind of use it, but I think I kind of naturally use it myself. I find myself working in sprints and then getting up to do short tasks that I need to do and then coming back. And it is all around the Pomodoro technique. [00:02:11].480] - Chris Yeah, Pomodoro technique. And I would encourage you you ought to try being very intentional about it and then report back to everyone how that goes, because I think it would be interesting to see how it goes because I do think most of us kind of use a technique kind of like this just in our day to day writing. But when you're super intentional about it, it makes a real difference. Because one of the key principles about the Pomodoro technique is the fact that it's really about flow and focus. And the reason I think it's important to be intentional is because there is so much distraction in the world. And if you're using the Pomodoro technique, but you still have openings for distraction, I don't think it can be as powerful as it would be. [00:03:03].090] - Gena You're probably very right about that. In fact, I'm going to be well, we're going to be using it with Writing Moments, but I'm going to try using it myself. I'm going to be intentional about it. I think I naturally kind of go that way and do kind of a variation on it. But before we keep talking about how great it is, could you just explain what it is? What is the Pomodoro technique? [00:03:26].750] - Chris Okay. I'm going to backtrack a little bit, though, and I'm going to stick with what I was talking about with distractions because I think it's important to start from there. And that is the thing is we are all very distracted. Right. As a society, we know that. And the statistics show that people check their phones once every twelve minutes. That means if you sit down to write for like 45 minutes, you're probably going to be distracted by your phone three to four times. And that doesn't even include notifications. People check their phones that often just to check their phones, which is kind of crazy, but we do that. And in workplaces, about 75%, three out of four people say that they are distracted. Now we as writers have our own workspaces, we have our own writing spaces. And I would be willing to bet that three out of four writers find themselves distracted when they sit down to write. [00:04:24].960] - Gena I would be surprised if that number isn't even higher because writing takes work and it takes effort and you have to concentrate. And it's easier to be distracted than it is to concentrate and really stick with it and focus and keep going 100%. [00:04:41].560] - Chris What employers do is they put in these policies and procedures to try and keep distraction from happening. They might install software that keeps you from going to websites, or they might have certain rules in the business. Right. But when they do again, studies have shown this is from an Inc magazine article we read this, that when employers put those kinds of things in place, they have found that they can make employees 75% more productive. They can also increase motivation by 57%. And employees say that 49% of them say that they are happier overall when. [00:05:21].900] - Gena They are not distracted, when they're not. [00:05:23].620] - Chris Distracted because these policies are in place. So, I mean, can you imagine would you like to be 75% more productive and have that increased motivation and be happier overall? Well, like I said, we are managers of our own workplace. And so what we need to do is sitting as our managers. We need to go ahead and implement the policies and procedures to make sure we're not distracted. So that's where we get into installing apps that can block websites and do that sort of thing. So I preface all that to say, before you put this Pomodoro technique that I'm going to explain here into practice, please make sure you can try to be as undistracted as possible. Go find some software that blocks Internet websites or put your computer on airplane mode and it put some policies into place. Go ahead and shut your door. Right. And make sure that you can't be distracted and then put this technique into practice. [00:06:21].490] - Gena Okay, so now we've heard about that. What is it? [00:06:24].840] - Chris Yeah. Okay, before I get to that. No, I'm just kidding. So the Pomodoro technique, it's a technique where you basically use the ebb and flows of your brain to maximize your work. So here's how it works. There's this group called the Drawheim Group. It's a collection of companies that are in Latvia. What they did is they installed software and tracked the time and productivity of their employees because they thought, oh, we're going to see why the most productive of our employees are the most productive. And they thought it was because they worked more. What they found is it was actually because they took breaks. And that's what this Pomodoro technique is. So here's how it works. And this is a quote from their study. They said the ideal work to break ratio is 52 minutes of work, followed by 17 minutes of rest. People who maintain this schedule had a unique level of focus in their work. People who discovered this magic productivity ratio crush the competition because they tap into the fundamental need of the human mind. The brain naturally functions in spurts of high energy. That's about an hour followed by spurts of low energy, which is about 15 to 20 minutes. [00:07:44].170] - Chris It's that ebb and flow. Right? So here's how the Pomodoro technique works. What you do is you set a timer, sit down, no distractions. Turn off the Internet, set a timer for 45 minutes, or you can do it 52 minutes if you want to go by the letter of the law with this study. But I just do 45 minutes, and then I start working. Start working. Don't let anything distract you. Don't check email, don't check social media. Don't answer your phone. You are focusing 45 minutes. Hyper focused, right? Don't even edit yourself. Don't let your own writing distract you. Just write. Write. Write. And then at the end of 45 minutes, Ding, the Bell goes off. Stop writing, get up, go to another room, do dishes, or go check the mail or play a video game. Whatever it is that maybe go for a walk, help yourself relax. But set a timer. Set a 15 minutes timer. This time Ding. When that one goes off, it's time to go back, set another 45 minutes timer and start again. So here's what's cool about this. You just rinse and repeat that again and again. I have found on a really good day, I can do about four of those because it's pretty intense work can't do much more than about four of those. [00:08:56].740] - Chris But if you do four of those Pomodoro techniques, I'm telling you, you will finish more in four 45 minutes sessions than you would normally finish in the seven to eight hour workday. [00:09:07].640] - Gena I think that's really powerful because I think our natural tendency is to try to power through is to think that I've got this project to get done. I've got this chapter to finish. I've got this article to finish. I got this blog to finish. I got social media to take care of. And just to sit there and think, I've just got to grind it out. And I've got to power through the ebbs and flows. I've got to force myself to sit here and not get up. And so I think this is a very interesting approach, and it kind of takes a little bit of the pressure off. Right. Because then you give yourself the freedom to not have to power through, but you give yourself the freedom to say, you know what, in 45 minutes, I'm going to take a break. I'm going to focus for 45 minutes. I know when I'm going to start. I know when I'm going to finish, and I'm just going to focus for that time. But then I'm going to give myself a break to get up. And like you said, go do whatever you could stretch, you could walk, you could go answer the mail, check the mail, make a few phone calls if that's what you need. [00:10:16].450] - Chris It's really surprising to me how many times I can finish so many things, because before I started using this technique, I would try to just power through. I think I have so much work today, I just got to power through and get it all done. But because I didn't stop the distraction and keep myself on these 45 minutes focus sessions, it would take me so much longer to get the same amount of work done. And that just seems like when you do the Pomodoro technique and you get so much done, you kind of end up with these extra hours in the day and you think, well, now what I'm going to do, right. And it's great because you're more rested, but you also have this sense of accomplishment from getting so much done. I encourage you to try this Pomodoro technique. And if you do send us an email, let us know, or hit us up on social media at Writing Momentum and let us know how it worked for you. We'd love to hear back because I think what you're going to find is this is one of those things like this podcast today may be one of those things that you're like, wow, that kind of changed the way I'm doing my writing overall because it's that powerful. [00:11:28].080] - Gena Yeah, absolutely. And that is what we have built these Writing Moments around, the idea that we are going to together. We're not collaborating on any one project, but we're working together at the same time. [00:11:45].890] - Chris I like to say we are working together on our individual project. [00:11:50].870] - Gena Yes. And that's really what they are. And for those we're doing 15 minutes of teaching or training from either Chris or me. Or our friend Rene Gutteridge. And then we're going to just write for 45 minutes, just focused and write and get it done. And I really am excited to see what comes out of these sessions because we're doing at least two a week. And then at the end of the month, we're doing some just straight hour long writing sprints. We're also doing an hour long Q and A where the people are able to send us their questions and we can answer them to the best of our abilities. So I'm really looking to forward to seeing just what comes out of these Writing Moments. [00:12:39].890] - Chris Yeah. So if you feel like, man, this really sounds good. Like, I want to try this Pomodoro technique, but I would like to do it with someone. Hey, we'd love to have you. We're going to be doing these Writing Moments. We're actually starting them right now. They started today. And please feel free to join us. You can join us for as many or as few as you want. If you want to find out more about that, go to writingmomentum.com/writingmoments and you can find out all about it on there. The price is really good. It's less than the price of a fast food meal for an entire month of these Writing Moments, for all this training, for the sprints and everything, our whole heart in this is that we want to write together and help each of us accomplish all of our goals. Right. Because we have things we want to write, too. And we know you have things you want to write. And we figured, I don't feel like writing should be a solitary venture. I think it should be something that we can do together, because I believe we'll make more momentum when we do that. [00:13:36].800] - Gena Absolutely. [00:13:38].170] - Chris So, yeah, go ahead and join us for that. Meanwhile, if you've enjoyed this podcast, please. Okay. What are the words? Subscribe. Share. What else is it? Subscribe, rate and review. That's it. We always forget what those are. Rate, review, subscribe and share. That's what it is. Let others know about it. Because when you do, we really believe that it will help them too. [00:14:01].430] - Gena Well. And I do want to say, if you have a topic that you'd like us to cover on these podcasts, please reach out to us. [00:14:09].320] - Chris Send us a question. [00:14:10].280] - Gena Send us a question. Send us an email. [00:14:12].230] - Chris Send us an idea. [00:14:13].420] - Gena Yeah. We want these podcasts to help writers. And so these are really for you guys to help you reach your goals. [00:14:24].210] - Chris Yeah. And here's the secret from the podcasting world. When you start doing a podcast, you're always looking for content, right? You're always looking for things that you can talk about. And we want to have content that we know will really help you. So please know you are not bothering us at all. In fact, it's a blessing to us to be able to get some things to talk about and to know that we're just hitting it right on the money when it comes to what you're wanting to hear. So, yeah, go ahead and send us some stuff you can do that writingmomentum.com. We got a little chat button in there in the corner of our website. You can put your question there and just say it's for the podcast or you can post it on Facebook or something else. [00:15:00].120] - Gena Well, and one last little goodie that we've got for you is we do have a new seven strategies for getting your writing done. So be sure to go writingmomentum.com as well and download the free PDF that we've put together, just ways that we have learned to get our writing done. And so that's something that's absolutely free for you. So please go and download that. [00:15:27].880] - Chris Until next time, we hope that your writing has momentum. Bye.