Is there a system out there that is better than the Pomodoro Method?
I’ve talked about my love/hate relationship with the Pomodoro technique multiple times on the blog now. I love learning new methods for productivity, and am always looking for another way to hack or otherwise motivate myself into getting work done, yet I find that there are always drawbacks to each system.
One weekend, I was thinking about this, and came up with a new system that I hadn’t ever heard of before. It’s… kind of like the Pomodoro, except I’m crazy, so I take no breaks and just work (which I super don’t recommend unless you really need to pull out all the stops and power through something).
First of all, I have a cool timer that I got on Amazon, which I just flip over and am able to see the time counting down.
This has actually been important, because of course I could add a timer to my desktop or phone and have it count down, that’s totally free and fine. But then to see it, I either have to keep it on my screen, switch screens to see it, or, worst of all, pick up my phone.
If I pick up my phone, it’s game over.
So, an external timer has been a life-saver for me. Anyway, I broke an hour up into three increments: 30 minutes, 20 minutes, and 10 minutes. I choose three categories, for instance, writing, D&D planning, and household tasks. Each of these categories I assign to an increment of time, with the most important task getting the most time. Then, I add subtasks to each category.
Here’s an example.
- Household – 10 Minutes
- Load laundry
- Swap laundry into dryer
- Fold laundry
- Put laundry away
- Load dishwasher and wash dishes
- Unload dishwasher, dry dishes, and put them away
- D&D Planning – 20 Minutes
- Draw map on Inkcarnate
- Upload NPC stats to Roll20
- Upload Item stats to Roll20
- Figure out XP for the next boss battle
- Brainstorm side quests
- Mimics. All the mimics.
- Writing – 30 Minutes
- Plot WiB Act III
- Rewrite ODUM Act II Chapters
- Rewrite ODUM Act III Chapters
- Edit ODUM Act 1 Chapters
- Do critiques for credit on Critique Circle
- Upload Chapters 1-10 of ODUM to Critique Circle
Once I have those tasks figured out, I get started with the 30 minute increment. I flip the timer over and work exclusively on the 30 minute task list. When the timer beeps, I stop what I’m doing and switch tasks. I flip the timer over for 20 minutes this time, and work on the 20 minute task list. Again, the timer goes off, and I stop and flip the timer for 10 minutes, and work on the 10 minute task list.
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I don’t typically take a break when I’m using this method, but as I said before, this is not recommended. I will refill my water, use the bathroom, make myself some lunch between sets, but that’s about all I do. I will, however, make sure I have at least one category of tasks that gets me up and out of my chair at least once during the hour, otherwise I can totally spend an entire day at my desk without barely moving, and then I wonder why my back is killing me when I go to bed.
This method can be used for any three types of tasks you want to complete, including work, fitness, and fun time! It’s super flexible and I have honestly been getting a lot done this way.