Frogs and Tomatoes Beat Procrastination

Frogs and Tomatoes Beat Procrastination

How many of you spent time creating goals for 2016?  How many of your goals fell by the wayside  because of PROCRASTINATION and anxiety about not having enough time? Wouldn’t it be great to have a strategy to deal with procrastination and make some real progress, particularly on those goals you don’t really enjoy?

frog and butterfly

Find Your Frogs and Eat Them!

In his best-selling book “Eat That Frog!”, Brian Tracy talks about “Eating the Frog First”.  The “Frog” represents the task or goal you least want to tackle or get started on.  Here is strategy about how to tackle “the frogs” in your life.  He suggests that you Eat the Frog First to start your day. That way, it is off your plate, and you don’t have a “frog” sitting on your shoulder.  Combining this technique with the time-management technique below could be a winning combination for Getting Things Done, accomplishing your new goals in 2017, and actually overcoming procrastination.

Fight Procrastination with Tomatoes

The Pomodoro Technique was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s to help people break down tasks into manageable work units and stay on task to complete them. The core of the technique is the belief that you can make yourself do anything for 25 minutes!

Here is an overview of The Pomodoro Technique.  The technique uses a timer (original timer was in the shape of a tomato – hence “Pomodoro,” the Italian word for “tomato”) to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks.  The high number of distractions and interruptions and the low level of concentration and motivation are typically at the root of our lack of focus and ability to get things done. There are also several apps available to help manage your pomodoros if you prefer virtual solutions.

Here are the steps: 

  1. Plan your activities for the day.  Pick no more than five to work on in a day (the recommended dosage of projects per day!)
  2. Prioritize your Projects.  Remember to Eat the Frog First!
  3. Clear distractions and DECIDE  to focus on one specific project.
  4. Set the timer for 25 minutes.  Don’t let any distractions pull you off that project for 25 minutes including your phone and email. Do 25 minutes of pure work.
  5. Mark an “X” next to the project you just worked on.  This helps you track exactly how long a project takes when it is completed.
  6. Take a Break for 3-5 minutes. Don’t skip this; it’s a critical part of the technique!
  7. RepeatStart your next Pomodoro!

Rules of the System:

  1. Your time slice is ALWAYS 25 minutes. Never more or less.  Stick to the system!
  2. A Pomodoro (25 minutes focusing on a project) can’t be interrupted for ANY reason.
  3. If you are interrupted, it does not count as focused project time. No such thing as a half or quarter of a Pomodoro.
  4. When the timer goes off, STOP. Do not continue working. Take a 3-5 minute break, a real break – get a breath of fresh air, take some deep breaths, stretch, etc.  This allows the brain to truly process what you just focused on and clear the decks for the next project.
  5. If you do four or five Pomodoros in a row, take a 15-30 minute break.  Go for a walk, get something to eat, etc.
  6. If a task lasts more than 7 Pomodoros, break it down into smaller tasks.

Possible Interruptions to Watch For:

  • We interrupt ourselves
    • By things we think are urgent, but are really distractions and procrastination.
  • We are interrupted by others
    • By things they think are urgent. You alone are in control of what you do with your time.  Set boundaries for others regarding  your time.

Let me know how this works for you by commenting on this post. I am going to give it a whirl myself!  My first Pomodoro project is my desk:  clearing out what is on, around, and under my desk!  Let me know how it works for you!

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