History That Never Was

Home of Dawn Vogel: Writer, Historian, Geek

Setting a Timer

Old school timerI’ve been getting a lot of writing done recently, and I can credit my word counts solely to one thing: half-hour writing sprints.

I had a couple of free days over the weekend, so once I was up and settled in, I started writing whenever the clock hit the half hour mark, and stopped writing when it hit the hour mark. Then I took the next thirty minutes to do something different–sometimes work on non-writing but writing related things, sometimes to do a bit of cleaning or cooking, and sometimes just to goof off on social media.

This technique also works really well for me during my lunch breaks at work. I take an hour lunch break, and too often I intend to work on things, but then get swept up in something that isn’t nearly as productive instead. Now, I tell myself that I can spent the first half hour of my lunch doing whatever (including eating), and then I spend the second half hour buckled down and writing.

This has a lot of similarities to the Pomodoro Technique, but I give myself a considerably longer break than this technique suggests–a full break after each period of work, rather than several periods of work with short breaks before a longer break. And I need the longer breaks to keep myself engaged in what I’m doing. Without the longer break, I find myself starting to wind down and run out of steam far too quickly.

If you need to get some writing done, try giving yourself half an hour to see what you can do. Then take a break, and do it again!

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