Posts Tagged ‘Pomodoro Technique’

10,000 Hours

There was a very interesting post on the Personal Excellence blog by Celestine Chua, called 10,000 Hours on Bejeweled. She also had an earlier post on the 10,000 hours, based on a book by Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers: The Story of Success. I found this really interesting. First, I misinterpreted the title and was thinking she had spent 10,000 hours on a video game. Turns out it is all about succeeding at what you are doing. From her article:

“… the “outliers” – i.e., the most successful people of the world, including sportsmen, business people, musicians and scientists, to understand key factors behind their success. He found the key denominator to all their success isn’t natural aptitude as many like to believe. Having a high IQ doesn’t guarantee success : There is supposedly no difference in people’s propensity to success beyond an IQ of 130. The key denominator is actually hard work. A lot of it, in fact. About 10,000 hours of it. That’s roughly 3 hours every day, for 10 consecutive years, before any one of them began to be defined as the ‘expert’ in their field.”

Wow. We tell people we’ve had our business up on line since 1997. We’ve pretty much been very small in all that time, but this year we are starting to see really good momentum. The reason? We are working at the business and the art every single day. When I was teaching, I was really limited to how much time I had for sewing, and how we could work a marbling session in on the weekends. We needed to put in the time in order to grow, and now we finally can.

It’s been almost a year since I retired (May 27). During that time I have:

* created and completed, including photography, a piece for a major art quilt show;

* created and completed two commissioned art quilts and three very large table runners;

* created fat quarters (a LOT of them) for a show in La Conner, Washington, including the trip there and back (this is something I never would have been able to do had I still been teaching full time);

* took apart three small quilts and requilted them to better showcase the use of marbled fabric in traditional quilting;

* had two art quilts accepted in to a new book on art quilting;

* took three classes from Quilt University (and completely finished two of the projects);

* took a marketing class on line;

* redesigned the blog and made cosmetic changes to the website;

* set up a site on Fine Art America;

* got the Etsy store to finally start making some money, especially with gift baskets;

* spent a month working through internet courses on Facebook, Twitter, Dreamweaver, LinkedIn and Bridge on;

* have work to enter for three upcoming art quilt shows and three magazine deadlines for work;

* started the ebook by completing the first tutorial;

* marbled fabric at least twice a week (and sometimes more);

* completed four months of challenges on the Free Motion Quilting Challenge through Facebook;

* worked through some licensing materials to continue pursuing possibly licensing deals;

* revised our company portfolio, including new business cards;

* presented a demo to a quilt guild in the northwest part of the city;

* joined SAQA and attended my first meeting;

* created two out of four seasons for a new pattern line; and

* redesigned my studio, not once but twice, since we had an unexpected move happen in February.

The funny thing is, I feel like a lot of time has been wasted this year, and I don’t mean down-time to enjoy being retired. As I wrote yesterday, trying out this new Pomodoro technique really looks like it can up my productivity, and still leave me time to veg as needed. I anticipate a huge growth year ahead…if I put in 5 hours a day, 5 days a week…….that’s at least 1300 hours for this coming year, and I think I will be putting in more. I need to actually do the marketing on Mondays, since I post about it on that day. If I take one day for marketing, that leaves the rest of he week for actually making art…and that’s what is ultimately important.

I’m curious to hear from folks – how many hours are you putting in making art?


The Pomodoro Technique

I’m completing my first week of using the Pomodoro Technique for organization. A former student posted this website on FB, since she was looking for a way to manage all her graduate studies and teaching. I checked it out……

Now I’ve been into reading organization information for many years (decades) now, especially since I am always looking for ways to help students with homework and assorted assignments. Most “techniques” I find are too gimmicky – you spend more time worrying about what the stages are and if you’ve done it correctly, rather than letting it help you actually do the work. Remember SQ3R? Most of us don’t (Study, question, read, (w)rite, review….I think). I realized it was a problem when one student said, so which R comes next? That’s not a good tool to use.

But people make money pushing these techniques, and Pomodoro has tools to use that you can purchase. You don’t need to, although I did get a simple kitchen timer from the dollar store. They’re right, I did like the ticking telling me I was working…..

Basic technique: you break up tasks into 25 minute blocks. It’s that simple. Now why 25? That seems to be a good working estimate of time to stay focused and get stuff accomplished. You get a short 5-6 minute break after this session. Sounds very reasonable, and I like the fact that this technique is taking brain research into account. Years ago at a professional development workshop, the presenter suggested setting “odd” numbers of amount of time to work on something. Rather than 15 or 30 minutes, which are so familiar we kind of blow them off, he suggested saying things like 13 minutes or 4 minutes. These are different, and our ears perk up at the mention of an unusual number, and consequently it seems to give the task more urgency.

I think that’s what happens with the Pomodoro block of 25 minutes. It’s different, and we know we get a break at the end of it. There is a way to organize yourself by setting your to-do list by the urgency of the task and the number of Pomodoros you think it will take to accomplish that task. On Monday this week I made my master list for the week, and it included some reminders for things for the next week, also. I starred what was critical, and then I started making the Monday list. Same for Tuesday through Friday. In fact, doing this blog post right now is its own Pomodoro (two Pomodoros for longer, more involved posts with pictures).

I got stuff done I didn’t think I would for the week. I can track where I spent my time, and as artists, this could be very valuable in determining how much time it actually took to complete a piece. Save your sheets and revel in just how much you got accomplished. Now I didn’t get obsessive with the short breaks and the longer breaks, but I have a much better feel for how I mcan maximize my time, especially my sewing time. It seems like the tasks or to-do list just just slip away from me. I have a very definite sense of accomplishment for the day, and ultimately for the week. It might be worth a perusal to see if you like it.

If you try it, let me know. I’m always curious as to organization systems that people use. Drop me a note!

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