Grand Productivity Experiment: Phase Eight… Nun Too Good

There was a time when I was seriously considering becoming a nun. Then I met the Caped Gooseberry, and it became clear to me that this was not the path my life was meant to take. (Glad I got that clear before we got engaged, unlike Jane Christmas.)

This past week, it became clear to me that I might not have made a very good nun. To be frank, after the first day or two, it was chaos. Picture me, realizing it was time for a pray and finding myself in a tree waving loppers around. (Turns out, you can pray in a tree.)

Neuilly-sur-Seine Saint-Pierre248
Precedent for short people in trees talking to God.
On the other hand, the times of prayer (when had) were definitely a respite. Perhaps I’m just not good at sticking to routine. And possibly the whole nunning thing is easier when done in community.

It was, to be scrupulously fair, an unusually busy week. Starting from last Sunday, I had five busy evenings in a row (my norm is zero to two in a week), while also doing a two-day apple tree prune – hence the whole waving-loppers-around-while-praying-in-a-tree thing. There was a great deal of tiredness as a result, possibly exacerbated by the general dark gloom of winter rains.

I have been cherishing thoughts of taking a week in bed once the Grand Productivity Experiment is over, but it really doesn’t seem practicable. Perhaps a week of Essential Activities Only, with an emphasis on lying on the couch with a novel and some knitting?

But such elysian dreams must wait until the GPE is well and truly finished. This week I’m going to try Pomodoros. Or rather, half-chickens (eggs?), with the help of my lovely assistant, Henrietta the Egg-Timer.

Kitchen timer
It works like this: decide what to do, do it for 25 minutes (this is where Henrietta comes into it), take a five minute break, and start again – on the same task or a different one. After four 25/5 sessions, take a longer break: fifteen minutes, or half an hour.

There are two other important aspects to the Pomodoro Technique. First, one must keep records. Begin with a To Do Today list and mark off completed Pomodoros (which will probably reveal to you how inaccurate your estimates are when it comes to how long jobs take). Second, one must never break up a Pomodoro. If you don’t go the full 25 minutes, It Doesn’t Count.

You heard me. Take a peek at the internet in the middle of your task and you might as well reset the clock. Horrors! But no doubt very good for cultivating focus.

A bomb or an IED (12249197884)
The bad kind of focus timer…
I know lots of people swear by the timer, whether they use the Pomodoro Technique or not. Do you use one or both? How do you find it?

2 Replies to “Grand Productivity Experiment: Phase Eight… Nun Too Good”

  1. There is every chance that I may find myself praying in a tree, but probably not in my current location. Is there a feminine version of Zacchaeus?
    I have looked up Pomodoro, and am not convinced for it as a name; it seems to be Latin for “I love England”.
    But I did discipline my Uni student self to exam swotting in a highly regulated timetable, long ago. It is good to work to it, as there is a task to be completed in the time slot, which will soon be over. Two positives.

    1. Pomodoro is, I believe, the Italian for tomato (lit. ‘love apple’) and the inventor of the Pomodoro Technique had a tomato-shaped timer. The question is: how did he avoid confusing it with his tomato-sauce tomato? Manufacturers can be so thoughtless.

      Might I enquire what tree you have in mind for your prayings?

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