Oil on linen - 8x10"
Do you find the hardest part of painting is getting started?
I can get to the studio and masterfully kill a good 2-3 hours before I ever pick up a paint brush. A lot of it "looks" like work, sorting through reference, cleaning brushes, checking frame inventory, etc...but it is definitely about avoiding diving in.
Pomodoro into the Deep EndI just discovered a very cool procrastination buster. Some of you may have heard of it as it was developed in the '80's. (Ok I'm a little out of the loop).
It's called the Pomodoro Technique. Follow the link if you'd like more info, I won't get into all the details here, but I gave it a test drive tonight and found it to be surprisingly effective.
Here's the dealio: A "pomodoro" is a block of 25 minutes of focused, uninterrupted work (you must be vigilant with this) followed by a 5 minute rest. You decide in advance how many pomodoros a task will take, or in the case of painting, how many pomodoros you want to commit to stringing together.
For example, with the above painting I decided I wanted to commit to 4 hours of focused work, so 8 pomodoros. I downloaded an app that has an interval timer, set it to run for 8 cycles of 25 and 5, and dove in.
Here's What HappenedFirst of all, and most surprising, I came out of the gate instantly focused and engaged. Something about the commitment to the time chunks put me in the mindset that I had to get after it.
I noticed that it was challenging to break when the timer went if I was "in the middle" of something, but I honored the system and stopped for 5 minutes each time. After 3 cycles I realized the break was beneficial even if it interrupted the flow as it gave me time for valuable contemplation and a brief check out from intense focus in a more structured way.
At 6 pomodoros (3 hours) I began to ignore the break and paint on through. In the end I wound up painting a total of 6 and a half hours with only a couple of breaks in the last two hours. The good news about that is it was because I was on a roll and totally engaged - so the technique got my momentum going, yay!
I am going to play with this some more as well as read the book because I think there might be a key value in honoring the technique exactly as it was developed, and I'm curious what the creator believes about that.
I'll report back in on my progress. Would love to hear how it goes for you guys if you decide to give it a try.