Wednesday, 21 June 2017

carrot and stick—tomato, tomato

While of course toil with or without motivation is certainly possible—and in fact, most of us are either compelled to at the end of a whip or in involuntary indenturehood that’s a bit of a looser leash, I enjoyed reading this little bit of cheerleading on how to be smarter about procrastination and focus.
It’s of course too easy to get distracted by shiny-objects or going for low-hanging (what’s beeping or vibrating and clawing for our attention) fruits to the perpetual off-putting of addressing more pressing and systemic matters (or even trivialising them to convince ourselves what we’re avoiding isn’t all that important after all) but there is value to be had in structured procrastination, especially if it’s something that might put one more in the flow. Given oneself license to engage in doing nothing can also be productive in the long term, rather than fight against apathy and lethargy to the point of exhaustion. It does appear vital, however, that we allocate a certain amount of time—not to complete a task, but rather to work on it, or take a break from it. One timeboxing technique to explore is called the Pomodoro (an efficiency-expert named his method after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer that he used in his student years) whose steps are pretty straightforward but could prove effective for some people struggling to stay on task: commit to something that needs doing, set the timer for twenty-five minutes, work until the bell rings and repeat—taking ever longer breaks between iterations. While I am sure there’s an app for that, I imagine that they’re already too culpable in indulging our interruptions or at least a convenient scapegoat.