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About Cecilia

I am a Life & Clutter Coach and IST Practitioner. I LOVE helping writers, creatives and entrepreneurs just like YOU, make their homes and lives into supportive containers for their creative AND personal lives.  

Cecilia's sharp, crystalline insight has kept me on track in my creative life, my business life, and my emotional life for the past six years: she's a triple threat!

 - Sarah Selecky, author of Giller Prize nominated This Cake is for the Party

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Monday
Jan202014

Beat Procrastination with the SUPER TOMATO! The Pomodoro Technique

How goes your 2014 so far?  I'm not sure if I told you, but I've declared 2014 to be a "should-free" YEAR.  I invite you to join me in this revolution!

Even when you stop "shoulding" on yourself, there might still be things that you want to do, BIG cool projects, that you're finding difficult to get started on or work on consistently. 

I totally understand and that's why I'm super excited to share this procrastinating beating tool with you today.

Do you have a big project that you're working on that you find challenging to sit down and tackle?  It might be a book you're writing, a big event you're planning or a big move. 

These big projects require sustained concentrated focus and dedicated time, but that can be challenging especially if the results aren't instant. 

You know how much I love time containers. 

Unfocused time is often wasted time (hello Facebook!), and it's easy to spend hours procrastinating.

It's also easy to go too far in the other direction once you've started working, spending hours in front of the computer or packing boxes in the basement without a break to get a drink of water or even pee. 

The question is, how do you find the balance between getting started and getting things done without losing focus or burning out? 

The answer is here...

It's the SUPER TOMATO, otherwise known as the POMODORO.  

You could say the Pomodoro is the the mother (or vegetable, ha ha) of all time containers. 

I couldn't believe that I'd never heard of it before so I feel grateful to Racheal from the Yogipreneur for introducing it to me in her Fired up and Focused Challenge (SO supportive, helpful and free!).

I imagine you're wondering what the heck tomatoes have to do with getting things done. 

Why don't you watch the video and then I'll review the finer points below.

(sign up for my email list HERE!)

How to Pomodoro it up!

1. Choose a task

2. Set a timer for 25 mins

3. DO IT!

4. Take a 5 minute break

5. Rinse and repeat 4 times and then take a longer break for 15-30mins or STOP

6. Yay!!

Let's break this down:

1. Task

Before you start decide how long you're going to work during this working period, in other words, how long in hours or how many pomodori.  If you just want to do 1 that's amazing.  The most important thing is that you choose your task or tasks for the time available. 

You want the task to be small enough that if it can't be finished in one pomodoro that you can at least finish it in a set (4). 

This means taking your BIG project and breaking it up into bite sized pieces. 

It's like seeing your project as a book that's broken into "chapters".  For example in creating this blog post there are several "chapters" such as shooting the video, editing the video, uploading the video to YouTube and adding captions, writing the blog post, editing the blog post etc...

Using this technique is also a great way to time how long it actually takes you to do things.  In the video I said it took me 5 pomodori (125 mins so about 2 hours not including breaks) to empty my inbox.  When you time your tasks it's great information for the future when you're planning out how long it will take you to complete a project. 

2. Set a timer for 25 minutes

You can use the timer on your phone, a kitchen timer that looks like a tomato like Cirillo or you can download a pomodoro app (there are many of them).  Whatever you use set your timer for 25 minutes

3. DO IT!

This means that you're only doing the task that you set out to do.  Your email window is closed, your phone is set to do not disturb.  If you get distracted, you come back to your task.

4. Take a 5 minute break

When the timer goes off after 25 minutes you take a 5 minute break.  If you've been sitting down, get up!  Go pee, do a few yoga poses, get a cup of tea, go outside for a bit of fresh air.  If you've been physical sit down for a moment, grab a drink of water, stop and breathe.

5. Rinse and repeat 4 times and then take a longer break for 15-30mins or STOP

After your break, come back to your task.  If you're still working on the same "chapter" come back to it or if you've finished move onto the next "chapter" you have on your list for that working period.

How many pomodori you do depends on how much time you've set aside to work on your project.  If you've decided to work for more than 2 hours, be sure to take a 15-30 minute break after you've completed 4 pomodori so you can stay fresh. 

6. YAY!

When you've finished, CELEBRATE! You beat procrastination and got something done.  Hooray!  Now you can take some time to BE.

Reminder to be Kind: This is a tool to help you get things done in a way that is sustainable and not punishing.  Be kind, take your breaks and listen to your energy levels.  You don't have to spend all day doing pomodori, but it's a great way to focus your energy to do the things that you want to do and have been putting off.  You can also play with the times (longer or shorter working periods/breaks) and see what works best for you. 

~~~

Yay!  Now it's your turn to give it a try.  Is there something that you've been wanting to do for a long time but you haven't managed to block off the time to do it?  NOW is the time. 

Find a time in your calendar, block off the time to work on your project and then Pomodoro it up.  You'll be AMAZED at how easy it is to focus and get things done when you have nice little working periods with breaks in between.

Super-BIG-Heart-Wings-Full-SUPER-TOMATO Yay!!!

Let me know how it goes in the comments below, and please pass this along to your friend who has trouble getting their big dreams into the world. 

Love and Tomatoes,

Cecilia

ox

p.s. I've been getting lots of emails and calls from folks who want to work with me this year, yoohoo! My schedule is filling up quickly but there's still space for you if you want 2014 to be amazing.  This could be the year that everything changes, seriously...  Email me!

p.p.s. If you're reading this and you're not on my list, you should really get yourself on it!  Just pop on over here to join!  All the cool kids are doing it!

p.p.p.s. Racheal is making my heart wings very happy these days with her kind and practical advice.  If you are an entrepreneur who works in a healing modality (or want to be) I highly recommend checking out her Fired up and Focused Challenge (where I learned about the Pomodoro).  It's free and it's so incredibly valuable, I've been truly blown away by the giving.  You can sign up HERE!

BONUS VIDEO!!

This is my new favorite c!c!c! song, perfect for your 5 minute pomodoro DANCE break!

 

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Reader Comments (2)

OH you make me laugh SO much Cecilia! Loved this video {also that it was 3:33 long}. I've been using the Pomodoro technique recently! I have an app on my iPad and after each Pomodoro it rings a bell and says on the screen 'Nice work! Done!' and then I have my little break. I do forget sometimes and just keep going; sometimes the energy of momentum keeps me going and I don't want to break that. But it is proving a very useful way to get things done, and to focus on one thing at a time. {Not my forte.}

January 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTara

I'm so glad I made you laugh Tara, that always makes me happy. ;)

ox
Cecilia

February 16, 2014 | Registered CommenterCecilia Moorcroft

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