With all the last minute details of closing our new house, there are a lot of mental and other distractions vying for my attention. Today, Pomodoro came to the rescue and turned what previously might have been an unproductive day filled with jumping from task to task and dealing with distraction after distraction into a rather fruitful day. Here’s how it worked out so well.
First, I planned out the day. I also front-loaded into my to-do list most of my administrative tasks, like phone calls, emails, organizing various items in my office, etc. into the first part of my day. Over the past few weeks, I’ve found it helpful to deal with these kinds of tasks early so they are not weighing on my mind when I’m trying to focus on studying, reading, writing, or other tasks that require extended focus and concentration. I’m also usually surprised by how many little things I have to catch up on, especially after an extended weekend. It’s easy to forget various emails that need a reply, phone messages, forms to be completed, etc., but with a time of day specifically devoted to these tasks, I get them accomplished with a minimal amount of things slipping through the cracks. It also helps me recognize which items are urgent and which ones can wait until a break or the evening.
Then, it was time for study. I’m coming up to a particularly challenging section of Scripture in my preaching schedule this month, and I knew that on this holiday-shortened week, I would actually need extra preparation time. I have an exegetical guide I use to guide my study times, so I broke down my tasks into completing the steps in the guide. One step took longer than I anticipated, which meant one step I had hoped to accomplish today did not get completed. That will require either some time working on it this evening or an early start tomorrow.
Finally, interruptions were all handled. Important things that needed to be done but did not need to be done immediately were listed and accomplished within 25 minutes of being reminded of them. Nothing I thought of throughout the day was forgotten because each item got listed on the to do list and during a break or later, during another Pomodoro, got completed.
It was simply amazing today how much I was able to accomplish in spite of all the mental distractions due to all that I have to do with the new house. Those distractions were almost completely eliminated during my work time. Pomodoro saved a day that might otherwise have been about half as productive.