We have so many distractions today and it’s easier than ever to get nothing done, I recently read Kenny Werner’s excellent book, “Effortless Mastery” and it suggests (amongst many other techniques), the 5-Minute rule.
Though the book is targeted at musicians, I think anyone will find it applicable. It suggests that the musician who is having trouble practicing should, instead of get bugged by the extraneous 30 mins, or 1 hour that we will spend practicing, he should allocate just 5 minutes for his/her practice in the day, no more. And though s/he might want to continue practicing past 5 minutes, he should at least take a break at that 5 minutes mark before continuing the practice.
That sounds very much like a technique that will work. I’ve figured that, as the book suggests the real problem with practicing my instruments (drums, piano and guitar) is the time it takes and the ache of where to start that practicing — now, thinking I just have to do it for 5-minutes, well, that’s not too bad. My only fear is that, my mind might soon re-adjust to the 5-minutes and may find the 5 minutes equally tedious, for now, it is working well and it at least gets me to sit at my instrument. But what about non-musical applications.
As interesting as it might be to think you will be spending 5 minutes on important part of your life, it just isn’t practical, enter ‘Pomodoro’. 1
This technique is quite efficient, if you can stick to it. I’ve done it about twice and I really like it but I don’t get into its “zone” too well.
The premise is simple: do your work in 25 minute chunks and take 5 minute breaks. The technique strongly suggests you do a focused piece of a larger scheme in that 25 minutes and when new work comes in, you push it into another stack of 25 minutes. You pick up your schedule (in a 25 minutes block) and do them respectively.
As it is, I have not been able to successfully stick to the pomodoro as good as it sounds, unless I’m getting very over-whelmed and not sure where to start attacking my work (which is the only two times I ever tried it), but at least, it’s good to know.
To me, whether it’s the 5 minutes or the 25 minutes, the goal is to work in the most comfortable way needed to get the job done. I tend to customize my work-area and technique to suit my mind and how I see things (as logical as possible). Others might suggest techniques that work for them but then, I’m not them.
I’m me, be you.
Enjoy a productive week!