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The Pomodoro Technique


I am trying to finish my book but I can’t seem to force myself to sit down and write. I am the worst procrastinator on the planet. There is always something more important to do. Any suggestions?


Please know you share this problem with just about every writer I know. Writing brings both joy and immense frustration. But there is help. The best technique to help with time management I’ve come across is known as The Pomodoro Technique. It was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. The basic technique is to work in intervals. Cirillo suggested working for 25 minute sessions, separated by short breaks, usually five minutes. The name pomodoro comes from the tomato-shaped timer Cirillo used to time each work session.

For me, a 30 - 40 minute work session is ideal. I take the next 15 minutes to make phone calls, send emails, check my social media, and make a cup of coffee. Then I’m refreshed and ready to go another round. Sometimes I take the first five minutes to read what I wrote the session before. That reminds me that I really can write and just maybe, my project is worthwhile.

You can adapt this technique to fit your needs.

If the idea of a timer doesn’t work for you, try writing until your Fitbit tells you to get moving. Another idea is setting a word count goal instead of a specific time. For example, I won’t stop writing until I’ve written 5,000 words. And, if you only have fifteen minutes, instead of saying it’s not enough time to write, try editing your last chapter, plotting the next, or interviewing one of your characters.

Remember to allow yourself to write badly. Writing a full-length book is all about forward progress. Every session moves you closer to ‘the end.’

I hope this method can provide you with the external discipline we often need. You won’t believe how quickly your word count will explode.

Good luck and happy writing!


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