A New Plan: Pomodori Posts

Pomodoro technique While in Atlanta for ISTE a couple of weeks ago, I spend lots of time with my friends Bill Ferriter and John Spencer. Bill and John are two of my favorite teacher bloggers. I never miss a post that either of them writes, and their writings have really helped me grow and develop as a teacher. Both of them have encouraged me greatly in my own blogging efforts. Bill helped me get this website up and working, and John has been one of the most frequent commenters and sharers of my work.

Hanging out with them (we shared a condo) was one of the high points of my ISTE experience. I learned so much through our conversations, and they constantly challenge my thinking. One of the coolest things about hanging out with them was the opportunity to watch them write. It’s cool to see Bill crafting posts through conversations, tweets, and questions making notes as he goes. It was also interesting to watch the way Bill manages his time, prioritizing writing and sharing. John, too, is a blogging master. I watched as he wrote an entire post in less than twenty minutes (with my interrupting him occasionally), and the post was brilliant. He has truly honed his craft. In fact, he’s developed himself into such a good writer that he rarely spends any time editing his posts.

I’ve been thinking about what I learned observing Bill and John at ISTE and about my own attempts at blogging. I’ve also been experimenting with and reading about personal productivity. I want to share more openly and blog more often about my teaching and learning. I’ve already started taking more notes on my learning using a Moleskine and creating drafts of things to blog about in Evernote. This is similar to the way Bill works. That should help when it comes to capturing my ideas. But I also need to write faster and let go of my writing more willingly like John does. Having considered this, I’m going to start posting more often using what I’m calling my pomodori post technique.

I’ve used Tomatoes for the past few months to help me be more productive during my planning, before school, and after school work time. I’m going to start using the Pomodoro Technique to write two posts a week. I’m going to limit the time I can spend on a past to two pomodori. I will spend the first pomodoro (25 minutes) writing each post. I’ll use the second pomodoro to edit mistakes, format the blog, polish my thoughts, add categories and tags, and add a photo to the post. At the end of the second pomodoro, I’ll schedule the post and walk away from it. I’ll tag each as a pomodori post. They will be somewhat similar to Bo Adams’ process posts, but I’m not going to name them as such in the title. I’m only going to tag them this way. I’m sure I’ll have to tweak the process as I go, but it’s a start.

So what do you think? What is the process you go through when you write a blog post? I’d love to read your thoughts on my plan.

6 comments

  1. Bill Ferriter

    Hey Pal,

    I love everything about this. My challenge in writing regularly stands in finding interesting topics for posts. That’s where Evernote comes in. EVERY time a thought crosses my mind, I add it to a Blog Ideas folder in Evernote. Everytime.

    Need an example: On the plane home from Seattle on Friday, I was watching Band of Brothers and saw a neat leadership lesson in one of the episodes. I hit pause, pulled out my phone and wrote down my ideas for a future piece.

    Taking that 2 minutes to jot down notes will save me a ton of time when I’m stumped later on looking for content.

    As far as your timing goes, you DO Have to get better at walking away from the quest for perfectly crafted content. A blog is NOT final draft thinking. It’s always first draft thinking. It’s more important to birth the idea than to polish it to perfection before sharing it.

    Finally, some pushback: I don’t like the notion of calling it a Pomodori post unless you are going to include a short description of what that means with each post labeled in that way. Maybe craft two sentences that you can add to the beginning or end of every post you write that way so that readers know what the heck you are talking about.

    When I saw this in my feed reader, I thought it was some kind of paper folding activity that you were going to use with your students!

    Any of this make sense?
    Bill

    • Philip

      Thanks, Bill. I definitely like the plan to use Evernote, but I’ll confess I’m going to have to grow into sharing my “first draft thinking.” That’s just not in my background even though I like it in theory.

      As for labeling the posts, that’s going to have to be a work in progress. I don’t know that the average person reader needs to know it’s a “pomodori post.” I’ll have to think about that more. Thanks for commenting.

  2. John Spencer

    I loved hanging out with you. Thanks for the kind words. I think I clocked in that post at 12 minutes, right? Not sure speed is the goal 🙂

    My process is that when an idea strikes me, I write the post right then. My former mentor used to always say, “We must seize the moment of excited curiosity for the acquisition of wisdom.” I like this idea. I like the thought of writing something when it’s fresh in your mind and hasn’t been mulled over for too long.

    Like Bill, I keep a list of blog topic ideas, though. I love Trello and I use the checklist function to jot down blog topic ideas when I’m stuck on an airplane or sitting in a boring meeting.

    • Philip

      Thanks, John. I’m not very familiar with Trello. Maybe I need to take a look at it. Right now, I just really want to develop a writing and sharing habit, and I want to get beyond my perfectionism about what I share. Two pomodoro intervals is doable. I love that quote from your former mentor. I’m going to use that. Who should I credit it to?

  3. Hugh McDonald

    Thank you for sharing this. It is something I have been thinking about too. I need a better strategy & thought process to organize my ideas. I often ponder over posts for too long and then realize that the moment and/or idea has been lost. Some of my more enjoyable posts to write were inspired by spontaneous boosts of to share my curiosities. The ideas flowed and were captured in the moment and set free quickly with the quick push of the publish button. I really liked the insights into how Bill and John crafted their posts, as I respect their work immensely. Thank you to the 3 of you!

    • Philip

      I’m just too much of a perfectionist at times. The pomodori posts gives me a structured strategy. I’m finding that some posts require more time, research, or thought and that’s okay. I’m hoping the plan will be particularly helpful when school gets back in session and my time is more limited. I’m going to try to write for one pomodoro interval every day. Then, save it as a draft. Later, I’ll decide which ones go live. We’ll see how it goes.