And all you’ll need is a kitchen timer (or a timer app) to make it happen. No expensive software or time-management classes necessary.
Here’s all you have to do: Set the timer for a certain time period (I use 25 minutes,) and write. That’s it. Sounds easy, right…?
Well, it’s not – not at first. A big writing efficiency-killer is our tendency to fidget and multitask. We may check email when we’re writing a Web page. We may pop over and surf Twitter when our online writing flow starts to flag. Or – and every writer can identify with this one – we realize, “Oops, I don’t have everything I need to write this article.” Then, the information gathering process begins. You surf for stats. You check your project emails. You’re doing everything but…well…writing.
I know this pain far too well. My brain often goes in 10 different directions in any given moment, and multitasking is second nature to me. Then, I tried the Pomodoro Technique (which is the basis of the “kitchen timer method”) My writing life literally changed after reading the guide – which you can download for free.
The kitchen timer writing method forces you to have your stuff together before you start. That means your notes are accessible, your email notifications are set to “off” and your office door is closed. For writers who tend to multitask, this part alone can be incredibly challenging (very challenging!).
After using this method for one day, I saw some fantastic results. I was writing more in 25% less time. And this was quality work – not a scattered rough draft.
Granted, it wasn’t easy. I wanted to do something – anything – but write during those first five minutes. There were a couple times when I caught myself tabbing over to email (old habits die hard!). By the fourth 25-minute writing block, I only tried to stop once. From there, it was smooth sailing.
I never realized the mental toll multi-tasking had on my psyche. Spending focused writing time kept me feeling good and staying calm. I wasn’t mentally drained by 5 p.m. (with three more hours of work time to go.) My energy levels stayed high. I wasn’t riding an adrenaline wave. Life felt much more…even.
I’d highly recommend leveraging this technique. If you’re a freelance writer, writing faster means you can take on more projects and make more money. If you work in-house, increasing your efficiency allows you to finish projects earlier and gain additional free time.
Plus, having more time allows you to leverage more of your content marketing strategy, faster – you’ll finally have the time to launch a new initiative or rewrite some Web content.
So try the kitchen timer technique and let me know how it goes. Who knew that such a low-tech tool could help us with our high-tech writing lifestyles?