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Friday, February 20, 2015

Keeping Promises to Myself

I have twenty minutes until the 13-year-old’s friends arrive to celebrate her birthday with pizza and cake and sleepover. An hour after they are due, one of my book clubs is meeting here at our house for dinner and intellectual conversation and cake. No sleepover.

Intellectual conversation. Oops, there’s the timer for the cake!

Intellectual conversation might be a stretch. I’m intellectually depleted. Today I gave a thirty minute talk on Shakespeare and how the Gunpowder Plot affected him, so tonight, I relax. I relax as much as is possible with several 13 year old girls in the house.

Anyway, I now have fifteen minutes to get out a blog post. I could wait and write something amazing and coherent – but why start now? I’m trying to stick to my goals this week. I promised myself I would accomplish two writing goals, and so I shall. The first was to write that paper on Shakespeare for the women's club to which I belong. The second was to get out a blog post. 

Sticking to goals is one of those things I do intermittently. It hasn’t gotten to be habitual for me, yet. But I’m working on it. 

So. Last week I mentioned I would talk about the Pomodoro Technique. I'm not sure why we don’t call it the Tomato Method. It’s based on the timer that the method’s originator used, one of those kitchen timers that looks like a tomato. Or a pomadoro. If we’re Italian, which I guess maybe we would prefer to be. Because, you know, of that European sophistication. Pomodoro sounds so much nicer than tomato, I suppose.

But I digress. The tomato method is a fancy term for what I tell my kids to do when they have a difficult challenge: work steadily for a short time, then take a short break; then return to work. Use a timer if you like. Be sure to take advantage of the short break.

Now, I can report to you, Readers, that this method worked for me this week, as I was racing to finish my reading and note-taking and then to write my paper on Shakespeare. I didn’t use a tomato, though. I used my iPhone. I set it for 20 minutes. Then took a short break. Then back for another twenty minutes.

I have to say, it worked really well. And I even found myself wanting to work through my short breaks. Interesting, I thought. I made myself take the breaks, though, and they did refresh me.

So. Pomodoro-tomato-good sense technique, thank you.

By the way, it occurs to me that I worked my way up to the PomTech, I didn't just dive right in. I started, in fact, with the Inverse Pomodoro Technique. This is a method by which you relax and delay for a longish time, then get down to work for a short, non-threatening amount of time, then repeat. 


Also in the news this week:  My $13 chocolate bar is still here. It is not totally gone. I have managed to exercise my willpower and have made it last. 

Small victory. I will bear it in mind, as I deal with the reality that now I am the mother of two teenaged girls.

Also, last week I mentioned I had some news. Well, here it is. I have a literary agent. That's all I can say for now. 

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