I was taking stock on New Years, as I am wont to do. For me, taking stock this year is trying to figure out what productivity system would work for me. For me, a planner is more than a calendar, it is a map for my life. One of my goals for 2016 is to balance it all a lot better. All of it–life, work, family, health, fun, writing, teaching. Up until recently, I was able to keep all these balls in the air. But the second half of 2015 I felt a few of the balls slipping, and that isn’t good. I was working too much, and not producing enough to warrant the long hours and lack of the rest of my life.
My friend Jessie Crockett (a wonderful writer, and fellow Wicked Cozy Author) sent me this blog post, outlining several different productivity options. She suggested I look at the Align Results method, which I did. I’m still wrapping my brain around it, but I am going to try it this month, and see how it goes. I will report back. I do like the idea of aligning my tasks, goals, and personal narrative. My planner for the year, Tools 4 Wisdom, seems to be able to support this new method.
But as I wrestle with breaking the code on this system (blog post coming up!), I was reading about other productivity methods, and came upon the Pomodoro Technique. I downloaded an app to my phone, and started using it this weekend. The idea is so simple, but very effective. Work for 25 minutes without distractions. Turn off the phone, get off the internet, just do the task at hand. At the end of 25 minutes, take a 5 minute break. If you need more time, take it, same rules. Start thinking about your working day in Pomodoros. Today I had 10 Pomodoros at work, with no meetings. So I gave different tasks different numbers of Pomodoros and decided to see if it worked. A phone call threw me off a bit, but other than that, it worked really well. Total focus, 25 minute sprints, 5 minute breaks.
I will keep you posted on my Pomodoro efforts, which I am now using for household chores. I will see if I can align my results with my goals using my planner and other productivity methods. I’m giving it the entire month of January, and will report back.
How about you, dear readers? Any productivity tips and tricks as we move into the new year?