It may not be an official diagnosis, but WebMD has me wondering: Could I have adult onset ADHD? They say if you find it hard to:

  • Follow directions
  • Remember information
  • Concentrate
  • Organize tasks
  • Finish work on time

you might.

I write like I clean my house–in fits and bits.

I’ll start one thing and quickly move on to another, and before you know it, I’ll have dozens of half-written essays and a house with just as many works-in-progress.

Easily distracted? Try this!

It’s maddening. The internet has made it a thousand times worse. Right now I have three browsers open, and don’t even think about asking how many tabs.

I don’t need your judgment in addition to my own. 🙂

While I don’t have a problem following directions, focus is elusive and I find myself easily distracted.

Squirrel! (Anyone…?)

The good news is my daughter introduced me to a technique that is ridiculously simple yet remarkably effective:

The Pomodoro Technique®. It’s magical.

Six steps (from their site):

  1. Choose a task you’d like to get done.
  2. Set the Pomodoro for 25 minutes.
  3. Work on the task until the Pomodoro rings.
  4. When the Pomodoro rings, put a checkmark on a paper.
  5. Take a short break.
  6. Every 4 Pomodoros, take a longer break.

Six steps so incredibly easy, how could it possibly work? It sounds too good to be true. Except it works for me. My productivity has skyrocketed.

Easily distracted? Try this!

Created by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s, the Pomodoro Technique® got its name from the timer Cirillo used when first developing the time management method–he used a tomato-shaped timer.

Pomodoro is the Italian word for “tomato.”

There is a catch, sort of, a “secret” for it to be most effective: you cannot cheat.

It reminds me of when I do a Whole30; sure, I could cheat a little here or there, but the little I “gain” from the cheat doesn’t compare to the benefit of 100% compliance.

To fudge technique hurts no one but me.

I’ve found this the same when using Pomodoro; if I deviate from the process, my productivity and efficiency decreases.

To derive the most benefit, it’s in my best interest to follow the method as it’s designed.

My daughter uses it to compartmentalize schoolwork and projects at work; I’ve used it for writing, working, even housework.

Easily distracted? Try this!

You can do anything for 25 minutes if you put on blinders. Those little Pomodoro checkmarks become very incentivizing, little check-y rewards.

You might be skeptical, especially if you’ve set timers in the past to complete a task. But with a little added structure, the Pomodoro Technique® might provide an extra push to not just start, but finish, whatever it is you’re working on now.

After my daughter explained it to me, I shared the technique with my sons. My youngest has gone on to share it with his roommates to help with preparing for finals. Hmmm, maybe I should add a tomato timer to my great graduation gift guide….

The Art of Simple is not affiliated with, associated with, or endorsed by the Pomodoro Technique® or Francesco Cirillo.