Let's talk about this productivity tip for music teachers...
As I sit and type this I am a few minutes into a Pomodoro.
My whole family does them together.
We'll ask Alexa to set the timer for 25 minutes and we'll all get to work.
Currently I am working on new content for The Studio Challenge.
My 6 year old son is in the next room doing homeschool work.
We set the timer and we work.
Just 25 minutes of getting work done.
Can you imagine that?
Can you imagine at 6 year old being productive and NOT interrupting and asking questions every 90 seconds?
It can be done.
My son is EVERY bit of an average 6 year old full of wonder, noise, and strange messes.
But for 25 minutes at a time the entire family is completely focused.
My dachshund, Flops, is even sitting here next to me napping. He's REALLY good at this.
Ok, let's talk about how this productivity trick works and a little history.
The Pomodoro Technique was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s. Pomodoro is Italian for 'tomato' and is named after the tomato shaped timer Cirillo used when creating the method.
There are six steps in the original technique:
But what we do is FAR from typical office work with typical office hours.
If you're anything like me, it's rare to have 2-4 hours of time to sit down and get work done before you have to teach lessons.
And we have weird schedules.
So, most often, work comes in spurts.
Here's my adaption of The Pomodoro Method:
1. Decide on task to be done.
2. Set the Pomodoro timer for 25 minutes.
3. Work on the task and end when the timer rings.
4. Take a break and restart when you're ready.
I like simplicity and this fits my schedule a little better.
Things to remember:
1. You need to set a timer and stick to it. That 25 minute window is important.
2. When the timer goes off it is time to stop. Just like the "Pencils Down!" tests when you were in high school. You don't get 'one more minute' to wrap it up. Stop and take a break.
3. Get rid of distractions BEFORE they happen. We had to keep our 5 year old occupied so he does his own version with us. Put your phone away. Close your browser. No Facebook notifications. No texts or phone calls. Seriously, the world isn't going to implode in 25 minutes. Whatever it is can wait.
4. The breaks are important. Crucial even. Take some time away to relax and recharge. Grab a snack. Go for a walk. Play with your kids. Do something fun that takes you out of work mode. This will help you to come back refreshed.
...Hang on...My timer just went off!
...ok, I'm back.
Seriously, those timers are for real!
For reference, there was about 20 minutes between those Pomodoros.
We checked out my son's work, my wife cleaned the house a bit, and I jumped into the Facebook group to hang out with some of you fine folks. And now we're all back in it.
I simplified the system to work for me.
And you can make adaptations to work for you.
Just make sure that you stay uninterrupted and that you set a timer and take breaks.
I think those are the cornerstone elements.
Do I do these every day?
Nope. Because my life doesn't really fit organized, scheduled systems, remember?
Yours probably doesn't either.
What I love about these is that we can fill a whole afternoon with 3-4 Pomodoro Sessions or we can just randomly grab one if we need to knock something out really quick.
It only took about a week to get into the habit of it and it is working really well for my family and for me.
Music Teacher friends:
Can you use the Pomodoro Method to better serve your studio?