You may have heard of the Pomodoro technique. This is based on the idea that for 25 minutes, you do nothing but the task you’ve set out to do. You don’t check Facebook. You don’t respond to text messages, even when your phone dings and you get that good dopamine energy hit right in the brain. You just sit down and do the thing. You get it done, because in 25—no wait, it’s 24 now—minutes’ time, you can have a five-minute break to check in on relaxation and being yourself.
A lot of writers use sprints, where you write whatever you can for a timed period, and it works based on this method. You’re not over-thinking everything—you’re just getting it done. You’re letting the words flow without pausing to wonder about research or worrying if it sounds silly or contrived, because you only have 23 more minutes now, and you have to get those words.
The cool thing is, not only can this help you with your writing, but—and this was a real eye-opener moment for me—it can help you with your business, too. I’m an author and an editor, and so often I’d think: Oh, I just don’t have time to spend on my author business. I’m going to have to put that great idea/marketing/adding up of receipts (well, we can’t all be glamorous) off. But what if you spent 25 minutes every day working on your author business? What if you broke it down even smaller and spent ten? Ten minutes every day is infinitely better than none. You will always have ten minutes to spare. And if you don’t, you don’t want this enough.
The reason working in short bursts works is:
It’s focused, undistracted time. You don’t need to harness your willpower for eight hours on end—this is ten minutes. Piece of cake.
It helps break down bigger projects into smaller, more achievable chunks. Are you making a cake or creaming the butter and sugar? Are you improving your marketing or updating your biographies across all social media platforms? Small and specific tasks can help get you where you need to go faster.
Positivity fuels progress. The better your results, the more you’ll be inspired to do. By setting goals that can be achieved in ten minutes, you’ll want to go above and beyond. And the more you hit those targets, the more you’ll try again and again.
There’s little barrier to entry. Who doesn’t have ten minutes? Even if you go to bed a tiny bit later or wake up slightly early, this is time you do have—especially if it’s for something you really want. And, my writer friend, you want this. You wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t.
You’re less likely to fail. I have a six-month-old baby and a two-year-old boy aka monster. I know that some days, you literally don’t have ten minutes. Or a top without vomit on it. Or enough pegs to hang the washing on the line. But what I do have is a series of ten minutes there to back me up. Maybe I can’t do ten minutes today—but the fact that I did it yesterday, after the Great Peeing on Mama Incident, proves to me that I can rise from the ashes when I need to—and even if today I cannot, my track record will help get me back on the horse tomorrow (after a long shower and a true analysis of how I can prevent my toddler peeing on me in the future).
So there you have it. Just some of the reasons I feel that short bursts of work are better than hours spent staring at that evil blinking cursor on the screen. What about you? Do you sprint or Pomodoro your activities?
Also, for those interested in trialling short, timed bursts for your author business, I’m holding a free 10-minutes-a-day, 30-day challenge this January. Check out this blog post for further details—I’d love to see you there.