Sprints, Pomodoro’s and Subtle Shifts
I’ve become a sprinter!
Yes, a proud, effective, productive sprinter.
Do you sprint?
When I ask you that question are you visualising yourself or me running rapidly with intense focus and intention, and then thinking to yourself….yah or nah?
Well I want to change your visual.
My sprinting doesn’t involve running.
Hmmmm a sprinter who doesn’t run, what does she mean?
Is she using the correct word?
My sprinting is similar to this noun definition of Sprint: a brief spell of great activity. And, the more I ‘sprint’ the less ‘brief’ and more ‘extended’ my spells seem to be.
My sprints are work sprints and they are actually highly productive. I’m thrilled. They are my version of the Pomodoro Technique* (see below) which originated with the use of a tomato shaped kitchen timer. The dopamine I release when I finish a sprint or, dare I say an extended sprint, is so satisfying as is the completion of my work tasks.
In fact, my ‘sprints’ are at times turning into ‘flow’ states (when we are able to be immersed in our task and do our best work) resulting in me resetting that ‘pomodoro’ multiple times.
Last month I mused on “New year, new possibilities” and decreed we could change that line to: ‘New day, new possibilities’, or even, ‘New moment, new possibilities’.
This generated a lot of healthy discussion allowing us to identify key themes of ‘new possibilities’ for us to explore this year. The first two being:
- Flow state and Home-work (productivity and time management). Flow state is when we are able to be immersed in our task and do our best work. How do we protect this time and incorporate it into our actual work-day versus bringing our work into our home-time just so we can carve out the time and space we need to get our best work flowing? We all know ultimately taking it ‘home’ doesn’t work because we are actually working more and eroding our boundaries for personal time vs work. We need to have distinct ‘end points’ for our day.
- Picking up where we left off or not. Let’s not have Groundhog Days. What are the subtle shifts we can make to feel fresh starts? Changes to our physical environment, digital environment or even our perception.
Some of you have already started exploring these ideas and have messaged me with how you’re applying these changes positively for yourselves. Your messages and actions in turn inspired me.
I questioned myself asking if I was truly practicing what I preach? And if not, what did I need to do? How was I staying true to our professional purpose to:
- Build great long lasting relationships
- Do great work for our clients
- Make money for the agency
My response was to look at this year again as “New year, new possibilities” and apply some ‘Subtle Shifts’ by scheduling in regular ‘Sprint’ sessions (with clear task goals) enabling me to be in flow, do great work, and to make sure I always have a great ‘Pomodoro’ with me.
Note: I was introduced to this technique by Rob Pyne, Realizer. One of the courses I facilitate for Rob’s company is his Productivity course. In the course a best practice technique to increase one’s productivity is to use the Pomodoro Technique.
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. It uses a timer to break work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks. Each interval is known as a pomodoro, from the Italian word for tomato, after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer Cirillo used as a university student. (Source: Wikipedia)
The original technique has six steps:
- Decide on the task to be done.
- Set the pomodoro timer (typically for 25 minutes).
- Work on the task.
- End work when the timer rings and take a short break (typically 5–10 minutes).
- If you have fewer than three pomodoros, go back to Step 2 and repeat until you go through all three pomodoros.
- After three pomodoros are done, take the fourth pomodoro and then take a long break (traditionally 20 to 30 minutes). Once the long break is finished, return to step 2.