The Pomodoro Technique

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This technique is very useful  when you’re starting  a big new project and you’re not even sure where to begin. Buy a kitchen timer (the pomodoro version is shaped like a tomato) and before you start work set it to 20 minutes. For that 20 minutes, you do nothing except focus on the task in hand. If you have been putting off writing copy, you write for 20 minutes. If you need to mind map a new idea you have had and done nothing about it, you get drawing that map. If you need to model sales projections, you do that and only that. It is a very effective way to put aside any distractions and get you started. And don’t worry if you don’t have a tomato-shaped cooking timer, there’s always an ‘app for that’.

Tim Ferris has one simple goal when writing – “My quota is 2 crappy pages per day. I keep it really low so I’m not intimidated that I never get started”.

It’s the same for any activity or action that you know you want to do but you are struggling to get started. Don’t look too far ahead, just start. If you want to go jogging but it’s cold outside, start by putting on your running gear, lacing up your shoes and stepping outside. By that time, you’ll start  jogging and forget what you were worrying about. If you want to cook healthier, you’re not going to do it with cupboards full of junk food. Start by throwing away the crap and replace it with healthy choices.

Action means putting yourself out there, at the risk of rejection; but if you try  your best, then there is no such thing as personal failure. You might need to tweak your plans as you go along, you might even end up taking a radical new turn and doing something different, but it might be better.

You won’t get anywhere without making a start. So get the kitchen timer.

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