How can I write an effective assignment

Write more effectively with the Pomodoro technique

Writing projects without a deadline and with unclear goals can take forever. The Pomodoro technique enables authors to work in a more focused and targeted manner - and thus, in the end, faster.

All writers have probably already made the experience that writing projects can stretch over a long period of time. Not primarily because they are actually so complex, but because various factors prevent you from actually focusing and purposefully sitting on a text. The project appears to be an insurmountable mountain of work that cannot be conquered anyway. Or you don't really know what to do with the half an hour of writing time that is currently available. And then there are the many temptations of the internet ...

25 minutes of full concentration and regular breaks

One possible way to address these three problems - insurmountable mountain, unclear tasks and distraction - is the Pomodoro technique, which was developed by Francesco Cirillo. Named after a tomato-shaped short-term alarm clock, it relies on breaking down large projects into small tasks, each of which can be completed in 25 minutes. The concrete work is no longer an insurmountable mountain, but a few steps on the way to the summit. The clearly defined task allows a clear focus and the tight deadline drives you to do your work as concentrated as possible and without distractions.

Up to four such 25-minute work phases are lined up one after the other in a block. Only interrupted by a short break of just under five minutes, which allows the brain to take a deep breath without losing focus on the project at hand. Four such work phases form a block, followed by a 30-minute break. Due to the limited time and the clear definition of the task, this rhythm makes it particularly easy to get into the flow. A detailed German manual of the technology can be found at wirtrainieren.de or in English on the official website.

The specific times are only a general guide and everyone has to find their own ideal time spans. However, the working hours should not be too short to actually enable concentrated work and not too long so as not to hinder the salami effect. You shouldn't skip the breaks either, as they give your head the time it needs to be.

Use scarce time as productively as possible

For many, writing is more of a sideline and paid work, family, household, friends, or other hobbies do their best to keep them from writing. Here, the Pomodoro technique offers the opportunity to efficiently use the limited time that is available for writing. 25 minutes for a Pomodoro can be reserved from time to time, even if the stress is greater. Then, when the paperwork to be done is clearly defined, this short period of time can be more productive than sitting in front of the screen, distracted for hours.

Limit time to research

Researching a text to be written can quickly become more time-consuming than writing the text itself. Especially for fictitious texts, you can quickly get lost in research and forget the actual writing. The internet with its infinite ramifications can quickly turn from a blessing to a curse. Here it can help to define a research goal or topic and then reserve a fixed number of Pomodoros. Only when you make a conscious decision at the end of these work phases that further information is necessary, the research can be extended longer.

Facilitate the flow of writing

Distractions and insecurities are the central problems that prevent one from simply indulging in the flow of writing. A delimited period of time with a defined goal, for example ending a scene or developing a character, is the ideal breeding ground for being able to simply indulge in writing. You know that in less than half an hour the alarm clock will go off and bring you out again and the task is clearly defined - the perfect framework for fluent writing. If you want to set yourself a special incentive, you can also set a word target for each Pomodoro. With a little practice, up to 500 words or more can be achieved. For example, Passive Guy describes how he uses the Pomodoro technique to bring 5,000 words onto the screen every day

Focused revision

Finally, the Pomodoro technique can also help with the often little loved activity of revising a manuscript. Especially with tasks that seem difficult and lengthy at first glance, it helps that you only commit yourself to 25 minutes of concentrated work and do not have the feeling of having to master the entire task in a tremendous effort. For example, you can use a Pomodoro to check the consistency of a character's storyline or to make the beginning of the book a little more inviting.

<Bildnachweis: Sanduhr von Shutterstock>