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Episode 37: Perfecting Pomodoro

Description: This week's episode provides some strategies for climbing out of the rabbit hole and avoiding the do-everything-except-work spiral. Dr. Boogren discusses a simple and effective strategy to help us maximize our productivity.

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The Self-Care for Educators team cares about the content-accessibility for all educators. If you have trouble accessing the audio for the podcast, the transcription has been provided below.

Transcription: Hi, and welcome to episode 37 of Self-Care for Educators. I am your host, Tina Boogren, and today I want to share with you a time management tool that I've just started implementing that's just blowing my mind. Now, this might be old news to some of you, but maybe it's a reminder. Or maybe like me, it's something that's new that will blow your mind, as well. So, here's the deal.

I'll give you a little background. So, I ... have somehow found myself working on three books at the same time. Don't ask. It's crazy. It's ... It kinda happened on accident. Super grateful for it but I'm also very, very overwhelmed by it. What I ... know about myself is that, I've just needed to kind of take one sometimes two days of the weekend to get this work done. I'm home. I've got time to do it. I don't have kids, which is a huge advantage. But, it's hard. Of course it's hard. So, the problem is it's hard for me to work on the books, and then I work during the day, all week, and then in the evening when we ... when I just get tired, and I know you guys can relate to that ... This is something that really needs my full brain power. So, I've committed to taking this time on the weekend to do this work, but I find myself so easily distracted.

Holy cow. That is one of my distractions ... When I went down some sort of rabbit hole online, I actually found this technique, and I read a little bit about it, and I thought, "Okay, I'm going to try it." So first, let me explain to you what it is. So the Pomodoro technique ... It's a time management method that uses a timer to break down work into intervals of focus and rest. The intervals are called Pomodoros, which means tomato in Italian, because it's named after those tomato shaped kitchen timers. Remember those? So, that's where it comes from. And, those work perfectly for timing sessions. Now I use the timer on my phone, but I keep thinking maybe I'm going to by myself, like one of those old school, tomato kitchen timers to do this. Cause, I just love that connection. So, Pomodoros are separated by short breaks for distractions, daydreaming, snacking, whatever. Here's how it breaks down.

Okay. So, number one, choose a task to work on exclusively for 25 minutes. So to me, this is how we do those things ... Big projects that just ... We need devoted time to do this. So, choose one thing that it is, that you would like to get done and commit to working on it for 25 minutes. You set that timer. You work on it. You don't do anything else. You work on it. You have no distractions. You're not looking at your phone. You are not checking social media. You're not checking the weather. You are not going down a rabbit hole. You are working on the thing. When the timer goes off, you take a five-minute break there. You can do whatever you want. You can daydream. You can grab a snack. You can stand up. You can look at social media. Whatever you do, five minutes, and then the timer goes off again.

Boom. You go right back into working on the thing. And, you do ,,, you repeat the cycle four times. And then, you take a 15-minute break. So, repeat that again. So, it's just mind blowing. Okay? So, choose the task. You work on it for 25 minutes. So set a timer for 25 minutes, and during that 25 minutes, you are only doing the task. Nothing else. Just the task. That timer goes off. Now you have five minutes to do what ever you want. Timer goes off. Boom. You're back in it. 25 minutes. You repeat that cycle four times, and then you have the luxury of a 15-minute break. And, it could be at that point that you're done.

For me, I tried this yesterday. Mind-blowing. I actually did multiple cycles of this, but I could not believe how well it worked. I got so much done. I got so much done. I felt focused. I just didn't find myself going down the stupid rabbit holes or doing all the other things. Right? I just ... It was incredible. So, I offer that up to you. I think this is so good at this time where we are ... Our brains are tired, and we're easily distracted, but we might have some big things that we just keep putting off, because our brain just feels like I can't do it. So, figuring out that time of day, trying this, and of course you guys ... I mean play around if twenty-five minutes. You know, doing the task for 25 minutes, does it feel good? Do 10 minutes. Do 15 minutes. You can obviously ... You can do this with students, too. Maybe teaching this to them, how to do this as well, can be really helpful to really that ... that staying focused, that kind of perseverance skill that we want to work on.

So, I offer that to you. I would love to know, do you do this? Have you tried this? Are you going to try this? What do you think? Do you have any tweaks on this? Do you have any other ideas? I'm taking all the ideas that I can get these days to getting work done. Let us know. I'd love for you to do that over in the Facebook group, and share the Pomodoro technique. What do you think?

As always, thank you to Brooke for making this happen. Oh, thank you so much, Brooke. Thank you to Marzano Resources and Solution Tree for this job I get to do. And, above all else ... As always, you guys. Thank you to you, my bad-ass Self-Care Squad. I'm so grateful for you.

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