The main reason I love this is because I believe that multi-tasking is bollocks. Multi-tasking is a lie we tell ourselves to trick us into thinking we’re being really productive. Have you ever got to the end of a really busy day and realised you’ve not achieved an awful lot. It’s really easy to spend a day doing things, without actually getting anything done. There’s an important difference there.
Because it’s impossible to genuinely multi-task two things that both require thought, the use of your hands and are aiming to produce an end result, we don’t multi-task. We switch between tasks.
Every time you switch from one task to the other it takes you seconds to refocus, and also causes your brain stress.
I developed on from the Pomodoro technique where I found 25mins was too short to really get into the zone of writing. And the 5min break ended up being longer while I made tea, looked on the internet, or stacked the dishwasher.
So I came up with the 40/20 version. 40Mins of focussed writing time – no internet, no distractions, no doing anything else. Just. Writing.
Then when the alarm goes off you stop – mid-sentence if needed – and set a timer for 20mins.
During this 20mins you’re doing anything else, but not writing. I used it to stack the dishwasher, put a wash load on, hang out the washing, walk the cat, surf the internet, make a cup of tea. Anything that doesn't require much brain power. Of course I’m sure your brain’s working unconsciously on the writing, but do not write.
When that 20mins is over, go back to another 40mins of writing, as above.
During a full day when I don’t have to do anything else I managed 5 ‘rounds’ of writing like this. Three before lunch, a long lunch break when Himself came back from the allotment and we ate and chatted together. Then another 2 in the afternoon. I averaged 6000 words a day when doing this many rounds.
Even if I only had an hour to write at the end of a busy day, or before a day started, I used this method and managed to get down between 800 – 1400 words during the ‘round’ of writing. The beauty of this approach was that I didn’t feel the need to do a load of writing if I felt tired. I just told myself it was only 40mins of only writing and soon that flew by. Doing this every evening in the week means I write 5000 words or so. Not bad really.
I think this is going to be my new method of focussed writing. It works for both large expanses of time and smaller bits of time fitted among other things.