Have you ever come across a hack that changed your life? Was that an epic fail or you managed to do it after all? In this era of the race against time and smart work, this might be a shortcut for productivity. Don’t get me wrong: the title is intimidating, and reading and comprehending the technique’s instructions was a challenge in and of itself.
“Most people overestimate what they can get done in a year and underestimate what they can do in a decade.” (Bill Gates)
Bill Gates was on point with this one. I remember taking this online quiz once “Productivity method” where I had to answer certain questions to know the best approach to combat procrastination. “Eat The Frog,” It said. This method is best for those who are looking for the simplest approach that packs the biggest punch, a Swiss Army knife of productivity methods, the results further explained. They had me there. I always wanted a Swiss Army knife, who wouldn’t want it in their arsenal? Both figuratively and literally. I was going through the procrastination phase. I wanted too many things at once but I couldn’t find it in me to start. Even if I would, leaving it halfway was my best approach. There was no fretting, it happens to every one of us once in a while, I understood that.
The best example would be this video that was floating around my YouTube for more than two weeks, “Tim Urban’s TED talk on Inside the mind of a master procrastinating”. I knew there was an irony right there somewhere. I wanted to change, so the first step was acknowledging the fault, the second was to make a conscious effort to make a change and the third was to tag and save the video in the “watch later” folder. It’s the effort that counts, I thought. Not really, that video stayed in that folder for another week or so, even YouTube stopped pushing. That’s when I took the test, decided to apply the Pomodoro technique and dug out the TED video out of the other 10 or so I had wanted to watch. Unlocking the mystery of procrastination was the first step. I remember watching that 14 minutes and 4-second video and when I closed it, I had better insight into what procrastination is. I have shared the link for you guys too. I would recommend it as it is an eye-opener. This was the first experience I had with this technique, hence why I shared this whole story. It coincides with AMAL’s first principle “Just start” or better known as Amal.
THE POMODORO TECHNIQUE 🐸
It is a quirk of human psychology actually, where a person faces mental resistance while working on big goals. The to-do lists are exciting to make but scarier to work on or to just get started. That’s where Eat the frog comes in. It is best for people who;
· Find their to-do list overwhelming
· Cannot decide what to work on first (prioritizing)
· Finds it difficult to stick to a productivity system
· Even though gets a lot done but aren’t making any progress on the important ones
· Are struggling procrastinators
HOW DOES THIS WORK?
It was Mark Twain who first came up with the concept. So if you have 3 tasks in front of you, choose the most difficult one and just get started. This is called prioritizing. You would have dozens of things to do and it may be overwhelming but the best approach is to work on the task which requires the most focus and energy first and less important but more urgent ones later. This method works effectively because;
· It is flexible and simple
· It goes well with the best work hours
· It sets you up to win (the feeling of accomplishment first thing in the morning)
· It helps you to set your agenda
· Deep work habit is promoted
What Actually Happened:
I wanted a partner to experiment with. So, I chose my usual partner in crime, my twin in mischief, my little brother. He’s four years younger than me. We have been meaning to complete a story for a year now, it was sort of on a hiatus due to writer’s block. When I told him about this technique Amal enforced us with, he was curious about the experiment too (Okay, Yeah I forced him). We were at home, so you can imagine the rest hindrances we could and would have encountered.
The Failed Attempt 1 & 2;
We decided to work on Wednesday, at about 01:20 pm. Our goal was to write at least 3 pages. We set our timer and got started on it. No less than 37 seconds later, my brother was called for a chore and I got nature’s call. So the Pomodoro was an epic fail even before it had even started. On the second attempt at about 01: 45 pm, we were called for lunch 20 minutes later. I wanted to shout “We are doing something important here folks!” but had no courage to defy high command (mom). So there they were the two failed attempts with only a quarter of a page.
On our next try, we chose a time when no one would summon us unceremoniously like a genie from the lamp. I’m not good with the analogy, bear with me. Anyway, we made a whole plot, discussed it and set the timer ready to go. The attempt was a success. During our 5-minute break, we put our sandwiches in the maker. The breaks were utilized mostly by the bathroom, snacks and weird yoga poses. We even managed to write 4 pages instead of 3.
People may find this technique a bit imposing or even rigid but as I mentioned before, It all depends on you. Every individual has his own technique that works wonders for them. It was a bit stressful to plan both the emotional and physical needs like the unexpected natures call. But it also has its pros. It helps you focus on a single task with all of your attention. For procrastinators like me, It can do wonders. You have a time limit and it helps to have hyper but efficient productivity results. The feeling of accomplishment that I got after completing Pomodoro was strangely satisfying. You just have to find a quiet environment and make sure the time is right and non-engaging. Morning is said to be the best time for Pomodoro.
So what I want to say is that it can be an effective way of maximum productivity for people who suffer anxiety or just need a deadline to start work. It is extremely helpful when you have a complete plan and all you have to do is start the task. Do you feel like dragging a task? Try Pomodoro sessions, it will do the trick. I personally would like to do it again. All I need is a quiet environment, music and a timer. Would you try too?