Sunday, September 11, 2022

184,080 Hours - Make Every Pomodoro Count

If you are reading on a smartphone, use landscape / hold phone sideways. 

I'm a big fan of David Allen's GTD (Getting Things Done) methodology. It is a personal productivity system developed by David and published in a book of the same name. GTD is described as a time management system where Allen states: "there is an inverse relationship between things on your mind and those things getting done". 

I love using cloud-based productivity tools. Things like Evernote and Basecamp and Zoom and Loom and...(the list would be long). We have a cute (I say it's cute) saying here: Before we book a (conference) room, send me Loom, and then we might Zoom. Only then do we pay for a room! 

I have learned early on that no one wants to attend meetings - but - they want the intended RESULTS of holding a meeting. It goes in the same basket as no one wants to be SOLD anything but they want to BUY. They want the results of the purchase, they want their problem solved, they want the transaction to advance the ball down the field, if you would. (Hey, it's Sunday - NFL football you know...). One more: no one wants to buy a drill - they are actually buying holes

I like to practice what is called the Pomodoro Technique. The technique was developed in the late 1980s by then university student Francesco Cirillo. Cirillo was struggling to focus on his studies and complete assignments. Feeling overwhelmed, he asked himself to commit to just 10 minutes of focused study time. Encouraged by the challenge, he found a tomato (pomodoro in Italian) shaped kitchen timer, and the Pomodoro Technique was born. The 25-minute deep work sprints are the core of the method, but a Pomodoro practice also includes three rules for getting the most out of each interval: 1) Break down complex projects. 2) Small tasks go together. 3) Once a Pomodoro is set, it must ring. The Pomodoro is an indivisible unit of time and cannot be broken, especially not to check incoming emails, team chats, or text messages. Any ideas, tasks, or requests that come up should be taken note of - to come back to later. 

With my staff, I tend to drive home points to the extreme. (Ah, yes - they love me...). A standard 40 hour work week would have 40 hours x 2 Pomodoro per hour = 80 POSSIBLE Pomodoro in the week. 

If there are 4.3 weeks in a month, 12 months in a year = 4,128 POSSIBLE WORK Pomodoros in a full year. So, barring weekends and overtime, we would have 4,128 Pomodoros over the course of an entire 365 day year to get it all done. 4,128 units of focused deep work. 4,128 Pomodoros to host (or NOT host) meetings, do research, write code, build websites, teach, train, coach, mentor - whatever needs to be done, we shall use up one (or several) of those precious and possible 4,128 Pomodoros. 

In a whim, I multiplied 4,128 by 79.05. This was the average US life expectancy in 2022. So, over the course of an average life, there are 326,318.4 POSSIBLE "work" Pomodoros. Assuming you will begin your working career from the day you are born - while still in diapers. Your mileage may vary. 

When you get right down to it, our entire "LIFE" is like one big Pomodoro calculator. We sleep, we eat, we work, we rest. We play, we love, we learn, we teach, we train, we coach, we mentor. We spend time at work, we spend time at home. Some like to calculate 8 + 8 + 8 for a 24 hour day (Work, Family, Sleep).

There is a neat little online time calculator There were 184,080 hours between September 11th 2001 and September 11th 2022. Times two, that comes out to be 368,160 TOTAL LIFE POMODOROS since 9/11. If you were born after 09/11/2001 and reading this today, these numbers are your numbers. 

Yes, life is like one big massive Pomodoro calculation. From the day we are born, until the day that we pass away, we are (all of us / any of us) the summation of those hours - our entire life is the summation of those LIFE Pomodoros. We eat, we sleep, we work, we play. We LIVE. 

Like I tell my staff: make every Pomodoro count. Never waste a single Pomodoro, you never know what tomorrow will bring. Hopefully my writing (and your reading) this September 11th 2022 blog post was a good use of one of our (mutual) LIFE Pomodoros. 

I also say: no one lives forever. But if we get lucky, if we work hard - if we FOCUS - we can build something of value that does. Teach Everything You Know. Pay It Forward. [ Going LIVE in 2023 ]

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