I love reading about ways to become more efficient . . . it gives me a break from actually having to BE more efficient. A couple of years ago, a friend introduced me to the Pomodoro Technique. This uber-simple approach to time management gets its name from the tomato-shaped ("pomodoro" in Italian) kitchen timer. Basically, you measure your productive life in 25-minute increments called . . . wait for it. . . "Pomodoros". During each Pomodoro, you shut out the world and focus exclusively on a single task until your timer dings. You then rest for five minutes, reset your red timer and start again. This anti-multi-tasking approach cultivates all sorts of good habits and seems to be a near perfect system for achieving one's goals.
There's just one GLARING problem! While this system may work wonderfully for a dad cleaning his guns, a five-year old drawing flowers, or a college student studying for finals, there is no possible way it could work as written for a homeschooling mother of seven. I can count on one hand the number of times in a given week (or month) that I've been able to focus--without interruption--on a single task for 25 minutes straight -- and that includes attending Mass. (Pardon me while I go nurse the 4-month old who just woke up from a dead sleep to laugh at me.)
Enter the "MOMadoro". It has all the genius of the original, with one simple modification . . . shave 20 minutes off the timer. I can usually focus on a project for 5-minutes without neglecting someone. If all goes well, I'll get a second one in before the phone rings, someone starts bleeding, a baby poops, or someone "accidentally" sits on his brother's head and then complains about the teeth marks on his rear end (loudly, with tears) while I'm on the phone. (All of these actually happened today.)
Here's the cool part! You get to add up your completed Momadoros each day, knowing that each one represents a little dent in the chaos. At the end of the day, you can quantify your progress (something we moms rarely get to do). You can even keep a list of the Momadoros you want to do when you have time, so you'll always be ready to use those free five minutes to accomplish something that's important to you.
So, what are you waiting for? Grab your tomato timer (or free tomato timer app) and get going. You'll be amazed at what you can do in five uninterrupted minutes.