Procrastination is usually come from the overwhelming feeling you get when you see the enormity of the task ahead. Because you so far away from the finish line, you can’t muster up the motivation to start. In numerous occasions, I have left massive school projects stewing right up to the deadline. And many times as the clock ticks down, I gave up and start making some creative excuse on why I couldn’t send the work on time. Then i will I feel like a fraud and a failure. This destructive habit has led me to drop out of university my first time around. I let down my family, my teachers and my relationship. At that time I felt that I was completely useless, and all I would do is day dream a parallel universe where I was successful, rich and respected.
After few more life failures, I was desperate for change. One day looking for any answers, I came across the “pomodoro method”. And it has saved my life from the grip of procrastination.
The pomodoro method is a simple technique where you work for 25 minutes and take a 5 minute break between each session. How it works is that by breaking down a large task into small goals. Because working for 25 minutes isn’t a daunting task, you start working and by doing so it gets the ball rolling by being able to work for multiple sessions. Also it also takes into account that human can only truly focus on a task for no more than 25 minutes at a time.
How I personally use this method is a slightly modified version. The traditional pomodoro session will be four 25 minutes session with 5 minutes breaks in between sessions, and a long 10 minute break at the end. As a procrastinator, committing myself to work for 2 hours was too much, as I was afraid of feeling like a failure if I couldn’t complete the pomodoro session. So rather than committing to a entire session, I only commit to a single, 25 minute session.
For example, if I have a school project due in 2 weeks, I will set a daily goal everyday; “Work on school project for one 25 minute session”. I will set the pomdoro timer and work until the timer is up. Once I complete the 25 minute session, I will set the timer for 5 minute and do something totally unrelated (for me is to watch random Youtube videos). After the break, I will ask to myself, “do I want to do another session?”. If the answer is no, I cross off my daily goal and stop working. If I feel like I can commit another session, I will set my timer and work for another session. Then I repeat this loop until my answer is no.
This worked for me because every time I completed a session I was able to check off my daily goals that I set. That feeling of satisfaction and success breeds consistency. At the beginning, you might be able to do only one session, and that’s ok. The most important thing is that every day you will work for 25 minutes, thats progress. And somedays you will have the motivation to do multiple sessions, but that is not sustainable which can make you feel like your failing again. So only commit yourself for a single session.
Since I started implementing this technique with together with daily task planners , my grades has improved significantly (I’m back in university to get a bachelor degree in Finance), I have learnt how to code a simple website and I have started this blog. Even though I am still a natural procrastinator, I am proud of my slow but consistent progress.
So next time try this method, write down your daily task, set up your pomodoro session and complete a single 25 minutes session. Once you do that cross it out from your list of daily tasks and stop working. Next day, do the same thing until you start getting into the groove of things and start being able to sit through multiple sessions.
Start getting productive 25 minutes at a time.