I’m excited about this post because I have found something that really works to help me focus on one task and to start working on it. Getting started on a task is sometimes the hardest part. The battle to start on a task ends with the stop watch and the number 30 both of which have become my new best friends.
I read several blogs across the internet which touted working in 30 minute increments as a huge step towards greater productivity and focus. Probably the most talked about one has been the Pomodoro Technique. I am always looking to find the tools that will help me to thwart procrastination and do the things I need to get done. The 30 minute increment seemed like something that might work for me so I tried it.
I looked online and played with several types of timers. It turns out that a really simple one like the stopwatch above from online-stopwatch.com (a free flash application) for when I’m sitting at my desk does the trick. Otherwise, a plain old kitchen timer or a timer application on your phone will work just as well.
I set the timer for 30 minutes to work on long term projects. I have one specifically at the moment that has the most amount of meaning and future potential for me. I make sure I use the timer to work on it.
I found that for me getting started and staying focused on a particular task (when so many other things, people and conversations beckon) is a challenge. The stop watch and the 30 minute increment has helped incredibly with that problem.
I have learned to trick my brain with the 30 minute timer. Thirty minutes to spend on one task and one task only isn’t really a lot of time. Telling myself that and believing that helps me to get started. Once I’ve started I have found that the 30 minutes feels more like 5 minutes and when the timer goes off the focus and the momentum is still there and I can continue working on the project which puts me ahead of the schedule I had already set. It also makes me less anxious because I am truly making progress towards meeting my goal.
And, that makes me happy.
It also makes me happy that I can share something that works with you. If this is something you’ve not thought of or haven’t tried, maybe you might find it or a variation of it helpful as well. Who knows? What’s it going to hurt? It’s only 30 minutes after all.