28 Feb I Tried 3 Methods Against Procrastination
Given the knowledge of my own tendencies, especially with how strenuous my relationship is with time, the first good half of February was spent dealing with the same issues. Well, issue, really—singular. Procrastination, my good ol’ companion, what would I do without you?
What wouldn’t I do without you?
Indignation welled up within me as the shoulda-coulda-wouldas swirled around my head, culminating in my storming off and heading straight to the internet to look for methods on how to be more productive. Or to finally start being productive, in my case.
The rest that follows is the account of this willing—nay, begging—guinea pig as he went to try 3 (!!!) productivity techniques.
METHOD #1: POMODORO TECHNIQUE
Here’s a quick rundown of what you need to know about the Pomodoro Technique: it’s Italian, it employs the use of a tomato (TOMATO!) timer, and it will make you question if you’ve ever truly been productive in your entire life (to which we all know what my answer’s going to be).
The way the Pomodoro Technique works is you set your timer—tomato or not (I used my phone because hello)—for 25 minutes wherein you will work without any distractions, like a blinders-wearing-horse pulling a kalesa, so to speak. Finishing 1 increment equals 1 “pomodoro” under your belt, earning you a quick 5-minute break. You can spend it however you like; it is limited to nothing but continuing your work. Then, set the timer again for 25 minutes with your blinders on. Rinse and repeat until you’ve completed 4 (or however many) “pomodoros”, et voila, an hour and 40 minutes of work accomplished, plus 20 minutes of rest.
Oops, pardon my French.
What I wouldn’t apologize for is how much I enjoyed the Pomodoro Technique. Each “pomodoro” flew by as if they were actual tomatoes with yours truly as the target. The 25-minute work period was substantial enough to make you feel like you’re getting things done—because you actually are—without feeling like you need to rush. The 5-minute breaks, spacious enough to attend to bodily functions, yet short enough to not break the flow. If only my breaks weren’t tinged with guilt from my incessant snacking, they would’ve felt more like the rewards that they are.
I think THAT’S why this reminded me so much of Pavlov’s Classical Condition so much. *eyes pile of empty cookie packets with suspicion*
Rating: 🍅🍅🍅🍅 / 5 🍅’s
METHOD #2: (10+2)x5 METHOD
Made by 43folders.com’s Merlin Mann, this is by far the most intimidating of all because, yes, there’s math. Going at it by the PEMDAS rule, we’ll be starting from within the parenthesis outwards. 10 is the number of minutes allotted for work; 2, for rest. Then, we multiply the total by 5, completing a total of 60 minutes (or 2 “pomodoros” *wink wink*). Just set your timer accordingly, and fire away.
In full honesty, I found this method intense and perfect for time-sensitive tasks. The previous method felt like grape-stomping (but with tomatoes), this one felt a lot like drilling into the task albeit the similarities in total time spent working. Allotting only 10 minutes for work felt too short that I ended up trying to outrun the clock; the 2-minute break too short that the only thing I ended up doing was breathe.
At least I snacked less.
Rating: 🚧🚧🚧 / 5 🚧’s
METHOD #3: RULE OF 52 AND 17
Let me start off by saying this: if you don’t like math, we’re all in the clear from here on out. The gist of The Rule of 52 and 17 is you work for 52 minutes and rest for 17. That’s it—no muss, no fuss. 52-minute work, 17-minute rest, repeat. And it yields you 2 extra minutes of work in an hour compared to the other two. (Cheers to The Muse who developed this method!)
My first attempt trying this out was a total disaster, not because of the method—it couldn’t be farther away from the actual reason—but due to user error. I ended up spending the good half of the work period looking to the ether (*cough* if it were on Youtube *cough*) trying to come up with an opening sentence. Then, glanced at my phone, realized that I only have half of the time left, and spent the rest typing then deleting every sentence I came up with. Only during the second cycle did I decide to just try again another time.
The following day, I did just so, and it was considerably better than the first, but I’d still lump it with the “bad” pile. I did manage to get things done, but, not as much as I did with the previous methods. In hindsight, I realize that I had set myself up for failure with this one because I forgot to take account how restless I get. I found it difficult to commit to the 52-minute uninterrupted work. The allotted time was too long for me that there was a point wherein I walked around my workspace, trying to work something out in my head, and ended up in the kitchen, fixing myself some food (which is something I normally find to be too much work). And, during the 17-minute break—which can be shortened to your liking—I was sucked back into my “ether-looking” mode that I had to backtrack to get back from where I left off.
The Rule of 52 and 17 did make me productive, but not in the way I was hoping for. It’d be so much better if I just leave this one for those who have better self-discipline than me.
Rating: 🥗🥗 / 5 🥗’s
Personally, the Pomodoro Technique fit me much better because it helped focus my monkey mind (which is something that I only achieve when I’m on the yoga mat) and didn’t trigger my defiant nature by confining me in a stressful schedule. Now, finding the motivation to start working is a different dragon altogether and that is a quest for another time.
So, for now, give one (or all) of these a try, and let me know what your experience was like and which one worked for you best.