Plan Your Hour

Is there a system out there that is better than the Pomodoro Method?

I’ve talked about my love/hate relationship with the Pomodoro technique multiple times on the blog now. I love learning new methods for productivity, and am always looking for another way to hack or otherwise motivate myself into getting work done, yet I find that there are always drawbacks to each system.

One weekend, I was thinking about this, and came up with a new system that I hadn’t ever heard of before. It’s… kind of like the Pomodoro, except I’m crazy, so I take no breaks and just work (which I super don’t recommend unless you really need to pull out all the stops and power through something).

First of all, I have a cool timer that I got on Amazon, which I just flip over and am able to see the time counting down.

This has actually been important, because of course I could add a timer to my desktop or phone and have it count down, that’s totally free and fine. But then to see it, I either have to keep it on my screen, switch screens to see it, or, worst of all, pick up my phone.

If I pick up my phone, it’s game over.

So, an external timer has been a life-saver for me. Anyway, I broke an hour up into three increments: 30 minutes, 20 minutes, and 10 minutes. I choose three categories, for instance, writing, D&D planning, and household tasks. Each of these categories I assign to an increment of time, with the most important task getting the most time. Then, I add subtasks to each category.

Here’s an example.

  1. Household – 10 Minutes
    1. Load laundry
    2. Swap laundry into dryer
    3. Fold laundry
    4. Put laundry away
    5. Load dishwasher and wash dishes
    6. Unload dishwasher, dry dishes, and put them away
  2. D&D Planning – 20 Minutes
    1. Draw map on Inkcarnate
    2. Upload NPC stats to Roll20
    3. Upload Item stats to Roll20
    4. Figure out XP for the next boss battle
    5. Brainstorm side quests
    6. Mimics. All the mimics.
  3. Writing – 30 Minutes
    1. Plot WiB Act III
    2. Rewrite ODUM Act II Chapters
    3. Rewrite ODUM Act III Chapters
    4. Edit ODUM Act 1 Chapters
    5. Do critiques for credit on Critique Circle
    6. Upload Chapters 1-10 of ODUM to Critique Circle

Once I have those tasks figured out, I get started with the 30 minute increment. I flip the timer over and work exclusively on the 30 minute task list. When the timer beeps, I stop what I’m doing and switch tasks. I flip the timer over for 20 minutes this time, and work on the 20 minute task list. Again, the timer goes off, and I stop and flip the timer for 10 minutes, and work on the 10 minute task list.

 

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I don’t typically take a break when I’m using this method, but as I said before, this is not recommended. I will refill my water, use the bathroom, make myself some lunch between sets, but that’s about all I do. I will, however, make sure I have at least one category of tasks that gets me up and out of my chair at least once during the hour, otherwise I can totally spend an entire day at my desk without barely moving, and then I wonder why my back is killing me when I go to bed.

This method can be used for any three types of tasks you want to complete, including work, fitness, and fun time! It’s super flexible and I have honestly been getting a lot done this way.

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