I’ve been cleaning out our kitchen cupboards today as part of a multi-weekend spring cleaning project. While I enjoy the results, cleaning house is really not my favorite thing to do. Because of that, I’ve been rocking the Pompadour.
Whenever I’m faced with a task that I’m likely to procrastinate on, I like to apply the Pomodoro Technique. In short:
- Choose a task to be accomplished
- Set a timer 25 minutes
- Work on the task until the timer rings
- Take a short, 5 minute break. Repeat.
- Make every 4th break a longer one.
A college friend taught me the Pomodoro Technique as a way of studying for exams. For that, I am forever in his debt. The problem is that he kept referring to it as the “Pompadour Technique.” It was another decade before I stumbled across the Pomodoro Technique described online and realized his mistake. Unfortunately for me, it was too late. From now until the end of time, my go-to procrastination beater will be the Pompadour.
My crazy naming issues aside, the technique itself is excellent. When you have a nasty, avoid-at-all-costs kind of task to do, nothing chops it down to size quite like the Pompadour. By discouraging multitasking, it forces you to give full focus to the job in front of you. And with a built-in time limit, you go into it knowing exactly when you’ll be done. For me, that adds a certain gaming element to it. How much of this can I get done before the next break?
I’ve used this technique for so long that I don’t use a timer anymore. I just work on a task until I feel my focus ebb, then I take a break. And because it works so well, I don’t just limit its use to dreaded tasks. I’ve made it part of my basic work flow.
The next time you find yourself avoiding something on your To-Do list, try the Pompadour. It’ll knock monster projects down to size in a hurry, and failing that, it’ll add 6 to 8 inches onto your height!