November 01, 2009

Rescued by a Tomato

Not keeping up this blog has frustrated me. Teaching English classes and teaching Andrew at home have almost totally absorbed my attention lately, with the few spare drops of free-time soaked up with reading the news, checking my mail and, recently, Facebook.

The time and energy spent on Facebook has been great for getting better connected with my family. However, I now realize that this motivation to communicate with my loved ones was what kept me blogging faithfully. I really enjoy blogging, so I needed to find a way to do both.

First, I evaluated what has been devouring my hours, munching my minutes and sucking away my seconds. The next big use of my free time was the website 'Lifehacker' and related articles and links-- all in the name of living better and faster and yes, 'saving time'.

'Good, better, best. Never let it rest. 'Til your good is better and your better is best.” St. Jerome

Of course, some of it was work related, but a great deal was just thirsting for knowledge-- information overloading, brain stuffing. As Solomon said, three thousand years ago, “Of the making of many bytes, there is no end; and too much data burns the brain.”-- or something like that. I needed an kind of an informational Noah's ark to save me from the data-flood-- like the round, red one that goes 'brr-ring'... pictured above.

While setting up Andrew's curriculum and schedule, I found and tried a few methods to increase his focus, concentration, self-evaluation and motivation. Simply put, to get more done in less time-- just what I needed too.

One method seemed to be just what we needed, “Pomodoro”, Italian for 'tomato'-- named after the tomato-shaped timer used by the developer of the system. The idea is to set a certain number of set periods of time (25 minutes is suggested and what we use) for uninterrupted work, followed by a short break. There's a lot more to the planning and record-keeping and do's and don't's, but that's basically it.

Forcing myself to schedule all I do will, I hope, limit the attacks of the black hole time gobblers when my will is weak. If I'm at least partially successful, you should see my regular posts come back to life.

Stay tuned. Bruce

If you are interested in how it works, you can find the details here and here -- where you can also get a free PDF of his book.

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