Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Working Mom's Guide to Pursuing Your Own Education [Part 1]

If you follow us on Instagram, you may see that some of our posts show us working on our own schooling. What you may not know is that Nat is a Doctor. Word.  She finished her PhD last year and is now teaching a class (in addition to working full time). I'm currently working on my second master's (because why stop with one?) in educational technology online...also while working full time. Since I'm on maternity leave, finding time to squeeze in assignments, readings, and required posts feels a little bit easier. But when I'm working full-time, I've found the BEST way for me to get things completed is a little something Natalie introduced me to: The Pomodoro Method.

What is it?
First, let me tell you that I don't claim to be an expert on this method. If you want to learn more from the pro's - here's a few more resources (Video, Article). However, I am an expert on ADD and having 15 unfinished projects going on at once and an inability to finish one completely. This is why I believe the Pomodoro method is such a game-changer for me. Essentially, you set a timer for 25 minutes and write down a goal that you hope to achieve. Once you complete that task, you get a break. So for example, maybe I need to get started reading an article. Until the timer is done, you focus on that one task. If you read the book or the article, there is more to it, like dividing up tasks, determining how many pomodoros you need to complete the task, etc etc.

Why it works.
For me, there's something about setting a timer that is actually kind of freeing and works for my brain. I know that during that time, I have to focus on that task and nothing else. I also know that once I'm done, I get a break. If I'm working something on the computer, I use that 5 minutes to get up and move around - maybe clean up the kitchen, switch the laundry, refill my wine water.  Truth be told, I don't always do the full 25 minutes. I usually pick somewhere between 15 and 20 minutes (especially if my daughters are home with me). I find, though, that once I get the ball rolling, I tend to work for even longer.

This is seriously one of the quickest and easiest strategies that I have implemented that has helped me to increase my productivity and manage my time better.

Stay tuned because we have more posts coming with our tips and tricks for pursuing your own education while working (and attempting to stay sane) - see the part 2 here. We'd love to hear your tips, too or even feature you as a guest blogger! Email us at workingmomplaybook[at]gmail.com!

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