What can you do in 25 minutes, and what does that have to do with New Year’s resolutions?
Hello January! This year, I am dedicating a word for 2018. The word for me is F-O-C-U-S.
Throw in the distractions of social media, kids activities, running a home and my blogging work, I’m constantly on the go and doing something, but often without achieving anything. Does this ring true for you? So this year, I’m taking back my life with this 25 minute life hack. I plan on doing one thing for 25 minutes at a time. This will help me with the focus I desperately need to find success in my personal and professional goals.
THE POMODORO TECHNIQUE
The Pomodoro Technique, is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. Simply put, it’s a way to break down a task into intervals of 25 minutes. Cirillo who is Italian, calls each interval, a ‘pomodoro’ (Italian word for tomato). Why? Because he used a tomato kitchen timer to help himself complete tasks when he was a university student. For less than $10 on Amazon, you can pick up one of these pomodoro timers to help you on your way.
HOW IT WORKS FOR ME
When doing chores I’m not so fond of, I tend to drag my feet so splitting the tasks helps me get on with it. It is helpful to note that I do not touch my phone or check any social media when the timer is on. The point is to focus on do ONE thing at a time. Some people do 25 minutes of work and reward themselves with 5 minutes of social media. Personally, I don’t find this effective simply because social media is a straight chute down the rabbit hole. For a social media break, I like to check my emails, post on Instagram, chat on Facebook and go on Twitter so I prefer to dedicate a whole pomodoro for social media.
But to ‘earn’ my whole pomodoro of social media, I do (at least) two pomodoro intervals of work. And if I’m writing, my pomodoro intervals are extended to 45 minutes at a time. After completing two intervals, I reassess and see if I should continue with the task. Sometimes all I need is a short tea break rather than full pomodoro social media break. Other times, I’m in the zone with writing an article or involved with a project, it isn’t worth to get distracted. Those few moments of stopping and being mindful is invaluable. It keeps me on track and I make better choices than being impulsive. I find that some days I can be so focused, I hardly ever distract myself on the Internet. Instead, I’m hanging out with my family or building my career. This method of putting in good choices, helps crowd out the unnecessary.
HOW IT WORKS FOR MY KIDS
This method isn’t just for me, my older children (ages 12 and 9) both use it. There are times when homework isn’t so enticing or a project seems so overwhelming that getting started is the hardest thing. The point is to take steps and move to the finish line. I love that the kids have made up their own rules to make this work for them. No talking for 25 minutes unless it’s to ask for help or homework related. It’s the perfect solution not to get distracted. My advice is not to use the phone for your timer. Keep your pomodoro time completely screen free. Perhaps a fun kitchen time like this Star Wars Death Star Kitchen Timer might make homework a little more fun. I have boys, so use whatever works for your family! If you do a search on Amazon, there’s a kitchen timer to suit everybody!
WHAT 25 MINUTES LOOKS LIKE
As I’ve been practicing my 25 minutes of pomodoro time, it’s been surprising how much I’ve been accomplishing in little steps. I can have the kitchen spic and span after the morning rush within 25 minutes.
Some days, I set aside for weekly prep time like mincing a whole bulb of garlic for the week’s cooking. Spending just the 25 minutes to prepare has helped cut down time when I’m cooking dinner throughout the week. The garlic simply needs to be spooned out. I also do this with onion. It’s good to note that the mini cheesecake jars from Val’s Cheesecakes are the best for this! They contain just the right amount of garlic for the week and are airtight enough to keep the smell out of the fridge. I’ve spent time with the kids making almond milk (click for recipe) from a book called Plant-Powered Families (click here for our review of this book).
It’s worked wonders for minimizing clutter. Trying to clean out a whole house the Mari Kondo way is so daunting but if I set aside 25 minutes, it’s helped cut down on the mounds of stuff a little at a time. Think about all the books you’ve always wanted to read but never had the chance. You can set aside time to listen to them via audio books or through a subscription with Audible and play it while doing mundane chores. This is a game changer for me and it’s all because of a little tomato timer!
Cheryl Collett is a freelance writer and the mama behind IttyBittyFoodies.com, a kid, food and travel lifestyle blog. Follow her @ittybittyfoodies • Cover photo courtesy IttyBittyFoodies.com