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Time Batching (AKA: putting all your minutes in a box and pretending it’s a present to yourself. Mainly because it feels like one.)

Howdy folks. This blog post might have a sprinkling of southern flair as I’ve been visiting the south for most of May. Around these parts, time moves slowly (or at least it seems to), but I do love visiting the Lowcountry (a coastal region of South Carolina). It’s one of those vacations where you don’t need another vacation when you get home to recoup. Folks down here move at a slower pace and to be perfectly honest, it’s refreshing. Being surrounded by family that isn’t addicted to social media and only check Facebook on their computer is also some kind of wonderful.

Slowing down and just saying no to multi-tasking takes us right into the meat of this newsletter: getting stuff done and staying focused.

In previous blog posts, I have hopefully brought you up to speed on tracking your time and how to create a to-do list. And apologies for leaving you out in the cold on how to work that new to-do list of yours. Wait no longer; here’s how. The Pomodoro technique might–no, scratch that–IS my favorite way to be productive. Productivity folks call this technique time batching. I call it getting S#!& done. Feel free to call it whatever you like as long as you work it.

How many times have you done (or not done something) because someone is paying attention to you? That’s what the Pomodoro method is for tasks. It keeps you honest. I’m not going into the history of this technique, although you can read all about it here. I would rather tell you how to use it so you can get your important stuff done, leaving you time to do whatever your heart desires.

How it works:

  1. Pick a task / to-do / project
  2. Use a timer – one that makes a ticking sound. It’s important that the timer makes a repetitive sound so that you are reminded that you are supposed to be getting work done.
  3. Set the timer to 25 minutes. If it’s hard for you to complete a full 25 minutes at first, build up to it.
  4. Once the 25 minutes is up, take a 5-minute break.
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 three more times.
  6. At the end of the fourth Pomodoro, take a 25 minute break.

Congrats! You just did a full Pomodoro.

Setting a timer and an intention will quickly make you notice when you attempt to check email, FB, etc. You will realize that you get distracted by a whole host of things (turn off those notifications already). It will take a lot of patience and practice but pretty soon, you will be well on your way to time batching using the Pomodoro Technique.

Check out the Free Pomodoro timer for Mac or Windows.

Until next time!

2 comments

  1. Trevor August 28, 2015 at 1:45 am

    I do something sialimr. I host my own Tiny Tiny RSS instance, and have more feeds than I can handle. I’m raising my standards on what I subscribe to, and I’ve started unsubscribing from the ones that just don’t make the cut anymore. Even still, I have some queued up to read that I haven’t gotten around to yet. Then there are feeds where the signal to noise isn’t so good, but the good ones are really good. Hacker News comes to mind. I find some really good stuff there sometimes that I wouldn’t find otherwise. Much of it is crap or duplicated posts, but if I unsubscribe I’ll miss the greats. Le sigh. I need to work on better filtering. I’m starring the ones I definitely want, and marking the rest as read and I move along.

  2. Beth Zeigler August 28, 2015 at 6:42 am

    I know– it feels like there’s never enough time to read all the stuff we want. Good job for starting to cut stuff out.

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