Productivity Hacks: Do Your Laundry
Lately, I’ve had productivity methods on my mind. Well, let’s face it, they’re always somewhere on the brain, whether I’ve had a slow day and I’m figuring out how to avoid another one, or I was wonderfully productive and hoping for a repeat performance the next day.
Only recently have I figured out that an ordinary household task can boost my productivity: laundry.
Well, this is useless, you might be thinking. I work at an office and I can’t do laundry there. Not true! I have something for you too, even if your employer hasn’t invested in washing machines. So bear with me while I tell you a story.
A Laundry Story
My laundry days used to be super unproductive. I’d have to keep interrupting my work to move dirty clothes around, and then I’d have to fold them. Ugh. So I’d try to delegate laundry to the weekends.
But one day – a weekday – I’d forgotten to do laundry over the weekend. I also had a significant amount of writing to do that day. So I set a tight schedule. I packed my clothes into the washer and set a timer on my phone. As soon as that timer rang, I’d rush down to the laundry room and get those clothes in the drier.
Since I had a lot on my plate, naturally, I’d do work while my clothes were washing. This gave me two 30- to 40-minute chunks of intensely productive time. And thus, the laundry Pomodoro method was born.
The Pomodoro Technique
If you already know what the Pomodoro technique is, you probably have me pegged. This post is about combining Pomodoro with household chores. You got me. But it’s been effective for me ever since I started laundry Pomodoro.
The Pomodoro Technique, if you don’t know, is a way to structure your time and stay productive. It was invented by Francesco Cirillo, who used a Pomodoro or tomato-shaped timer, hence its namesake. The method is this: set a timer for 25 minutes and work during that time. Then give yourself a 5-minute break. Rinse and repeat for as long as needed. But since we human beings are only able to focus for so long, take a longer, 15-minute break after you’ve completed three or four pomodoros.
You can vary the time of your breaks and number of pomodoros, but the basic premise is:
- Short break
- Short break
- Long break
This method has been so well-received that there’s a Cirillo company with Pomodoro courses, Pomodoro certifications you can earn, and a Pomodoro book.
So Why Laundry?
So if this method is so effective, why did I bother adding laundry to the equation? Is this my attempt at a unique spin? Some cheap gimmick I picked up in the process of writing for marketing agencies?
Fortunately no. I bring in laundry because the Pomodoro technique doesn’t work for me.
I mean, I’m sure if I used it consistently, it would be helpful. But it’s getting there that’s the problem. I just can’t motivate myself to use pomodoros. It’s annoying to always set a timer. I always go over or under the times I set. Sometimes I’d rather just charge ahead for a couple hours without stopping for a break.
That’s where laundry comes in. Laundry is set in stone.
What I mean is, there’s no going under the time limit for laundry. If I do, I’m just wasting time while the washing machine continues to run. And if I go over the set time, my clothes will stay soggy in the washer or get wrinkled in the dryer.
The result is an enforced Pomodoro that I have no choice but to obey. But since laundry is only once a week, I don’t feel constrained or annoyed by the time limits. Instead, it’s fun to see how much I can accomplish in two Pomodoros of laundry.
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