Productivity is infectious

My mother recently had cataract surgery which went perfectly but then we got the unfortunate news that she had developed an infection inside of the eye. This can be quite serious and requires quick action. I will spare you all the gorey details because this post isn't really about the infection, but rather what I learned after taking care of my mom over the past week. 

Among the treatments mom has endured include a regime of two different eye drops that had to be administered one on the hour and the other on the half hour during wakeful hours. Thankful this was not an around the clock thing. Living your life in 30 minute chunks is tricky for those not accustomed to such a regimented schedule. The first few days were rough but then she started to settle into the routine and I got a chance to really practice the Pomodoro Technique.

If you think this sounds like a new Italian cooking method, you'd be a little bit right. It does involve a kitchen timer, but beyond that it is about productivity not produce. You can learn more in the short video over at The Pomodoro Technique website, but basically it is a way to organize you work or study into 25 minute increments with 5 minutes break in between. There's more to it, but lets focus on that part for now.

For quite some time in the learning space and business space we have talked about the need for breaking things into smaller, bite-sized pieces. By the way, let me give a quick shout out to the inspiration I also recently got from the Pinkcast by Daniel Pink and Chris Brogan's Twenty Minute Plan. OK, back to the eye drops. This was the perfect opportunity for me to try this out. Admittedly, I have tried it before and despite seeing advantages to it, I have slipped into old habits at times, falling prey sometimes out of necessity (my boss, for instance, isn't on the check emails at designated times bandwagon yet) and others out of habit or lack of engagement with what I have been doing. 

Despite the stressful situation of a parent having health issues and having to try and get my daily work done, sometimes from odd locations like a waiting room or the floor of my mom's house where I don't have a proper desk, or an airplane seat which was not terrible since I had the aisle seat in an exit row, I have been remarkably productive over the past week. Breaking things into small chunks requires you to be more strategic and focused. It is also a short enough time period that you have less reason to worry that you are missing out on something else or that something else has to be done, right that minute. Work in the moment. Live in the moment. 

Well, this time block is about up, so it's time to administer another drop to mom, but then I'll be right into the next time block and getting it all done. You can too. If you try this out, let me know how it worked for you.