I’ve been having some success lately using the Pomodoro technique to get things done (when I remember to use it, that is). If you don’t know what the Pomodoro technique is, it’s basically just using a kitchen timer to help you stay on task and increase your productivity. Set the timer for 25 minutes, work until it dings, then stop and take a break before setting the timer for another 25 minutes, repeat as necessary until your work is done.
A good app for this is Pomodairo, which runs on Adobe Air and as such should work on all operating systems. Designed specifically for the Pomodoro technique, it’s a timer with a built-in task list that helps you track interruptions and how much you’re actually working throughout the day. I’ve been using it off and on for a while now, and, like I said above, when I remember to use it, I tend to be pretty productive.
I thought this ought to translate pretty well to Nanowrimo. After all, it’s basically the same principle as Write or Die, just without the dire consequences (or the hassle of having to copy and paste your output into your usual word processor and properly format everything). And I was right. I tried it out today, and it took 4 Pomodoros–that’s a 25-minute session plus break–to hit my word count for the day. Well, actually it took 3 Pomodoros plus two chat room sprints, but that’s because I took a long break after the third one and then ended up checking into my local chapter’s chat room before firing up Pomodairo for my final round. Either way, it worked out, and helped me get it done. If you’re looking for a way to time your own word count sprints, or just a way to be more productive in general, then I highly recommend it.