The Pomodoro Technique for Writers

The “Pomodoro Technique” is a form of time management that encourages an individual to work or study in short spurts with breaks in between. The original idea consists on setting 25 minutes  (or pomodori) to work on something and then taking a 5 minute break. Repeat until all tasks are done.

I very much like this idea for study, it helps to develop discipline and to break down tasks that might otherwise be overwhelming.

I use it but I often tweak it to my own abilities in regards to the task at hand. For example, reading or writing (which is what I often use my bastard version for) will often have 45 minutes or an hour worth of work time and about 15 of break. I do this because uninterrupted work for this activities is better than short spurs of it. Distraction and the act of refocusing can hinder creativity.

Here’s an article that thinks that for creative endeavors, one should disregard the technique.

It’s an interesting perspective but not one that I agree with. When I was writing my thesis (a full length play), I put myself in a pomodoro-like schedule. Writing is extremely grueling mentally and emotionally for me. I also tend to forget to eat and when I remember, I’m about ready to pass out. I guess the way I set up pomodoro was to remind myself to take necessary breaks. This HELPS when it comes to creativity, because letting your mind breathe and your body rest or recover nutrients, can enhance your creative output.

Sometimes, too, writing can be so hard and off-putting that having a schedule set up can facilitate getting over “writer blocks” or other hurdles that a writer may come across.

I do think, and maybe that’s what the article is getting at, that the basic pomodoro technique may be too distracting for creation. Could be that for artistic endeavors, the stretches of work time should be longer. There’s no problem with deviating from the original pomodoro idea as long as it works for the individual. After all, we all have different ways and motivators to be productive. A bastardized pomodoro, as long as it helps, is the best kind of pomodoro.


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