The following post was written by Fall 2021 writing intern, Amelia Wright.
I recently had a huge paper to write. I approached the task with an ‘all or nothing’ mentality, thinking I’ll just sit down and write the whole thing. Well, one paragraph and two hours later, I realized I was going to need a lot more structure.
I was recently sent an article on the Flowtime Technique. This technique is a lot like the Pomodoro technique with a few exceptions. A typical Pomodoro cycle consists of four, twenty-five minute work segments broken up by five minute breaks, and then one longer break. It is very structured in nature and works best when strictly followed. On the other hand, the Flowtime technique is much looser. Instead of set times, you work until you reach a natural stopping point, and then take a break based on how long you worked. To keep yourself accountable, you set a timer when you begin working and pause it whenever you take a break or are distracted. Continually note these times in a journal. After a couple of work sessions, you will be able to find patterns in what distracts you. Having this knowledge helps you plan for distractions to better avoid or embrace them.
In my own experience with the Flowtime technique, I found it seemed to align with Newton’s first laws of motion; an object in motion stays in motion. When I was in a groove in my work session, it helped that I had more than an allotted twenty-five minutes to work. I worked, uninterrupted, accomplished quality work, and did not want to stop working. However, not having a set time for a break meant that I had a hard time getting back into work. I got distracted or started thinking about different tasks.
Going forward, I think it is important to mix and match different techniques that work for you. For example, I might need uninterrupted work time but a structured break time. Someone else might need a rigorous work schedule and longer breaks. Take into consideration what your struggles and strengths are in completing tasks, and try different methods that tailor to your needs. You will know you found the method that works for you because work will feel much less stressful and your outputs will be much more valuable.
Amelia is a student at the University of Tennessee Knoxville. She is majoring in English and working on growing her freelance writing career. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.