The Pomodoro Technique for AuthorsOne of my favorite productivity tools in my freelance writing and blogging work is a timer. I use something called the Pomodoro Technique which breaks down my work into small, manageable periods of time. It's a great way to stay focused and push yourself to see how much you can do in a short stretch. And it turns out, it works well for writing books and e-books too.

For this week's quick tip, let's take a look at what the Pomodoro Technique is and how you can make it work for you as an author.

How the Pomodoro Technique Works

The Pomodoro technique is all about mapping out your work schedule based on alternating work periods and breaks. That involves planning. But it also involves challenging yourself.

You do that with a breakdown like this:

25 minutes of work / 5 minute break

After every four sets, you would take a longer break of 15-30 minutes.

So here's my basic schedule when I write using the Pomodoro Technique:

  • 25 minutes working
  • 5 minute break
  • 25 minutes working
  • 5 minute break
  • 25 minutes working
  • 5 minute break
  • 25 minutes working
  • 30 minute break

Then it starts all over again.

Another way to think of it is taking at least a 10 minute break each hour that you work.

The longer breaks are great for unwinding and clearing your head. You can go for a walk, take a short nap, read a book, or do whatever works for you.

How the Pomodoro Technique Can Help Authors

I'm sure at least some of you are wondering how you could ever write a book in 25-minute increments. But it really can help. And remember, you don't have to use it every time you work. Here are a few ways you might be able to make it work for you:

  • Challenge yourself to hit certain word counts in each Pomodoro.
  • Optimize the time you spend outlining or conducting research.
  • Push yourself to get through the first draft of each chapter or scene quickly (great if you're taking part in a timed challenge like NaNoWriMo or if, like me, you prefer quick and dirty rough drafts with more focus on later revisions).
  • Squeeze in more writing even when you only have a little bit of available time (like running through a Pomodoro or two while the baby naps).

The big benefit is that the Pomodoro technique makes you much more aware of how you're spending your time. That makes it easier to see where you can improve your productivity in general.

If you want to work with longer writing periods, you can always customize the plan to work for you.

Two Tools for the Pomodoro Technique

Here are my two favorite timers that I use when working with the Pomodoro Technique:

  • -- This is a browser-based timer.
  • Pomodoro Tracker -- This one is an Android app.

Share your own Pomodoro tools recommendations or other productivity tips for authors in the comments.