Poms, Comms, and Noms
a daily scheduling philosophy
My definition of journaling may be unusually ecumenical: I put into the category any writing that one does entirely for oneself. Planners and to-do lists, if they are for your eyes only, count as journaling in my book — you are drafting communication to and about yourself, committing to your priorities by writing them down, and honoring, with action, what you have written. Powerful stuff!
For your journal: What is your system for time management? What are your practices for making decisions about your schedule?
I am forever fine-tuning my scheduling approach. The most helpful time management books I’ve read recently were Mark Forster’s Do It Tomorrow and Tiago Forte’s Building a Second Brain. Forster argues for minimizing the number of unplanned tasks we take up each day — instead, turn what comes up today into your to-do list for tomorrow. Forte makes the case for keeping all information outside your head rather than relying on memory. In addition to helping you organize and build with this stored information, your second brain gives your first brain more space for creativity.
Both writers influenced my current, simple-yet-helpful schedulizing iteration:
Poms, Comms, and Noms
Most of what makes up my workday fits into three categories: 1) focused work to move projects forward, 2) conversations and exchanges, and 3) replenishment and rejuvenation. I try to make sure every workday has all three.
POMS: To get my consulting work done I need concentration. I use the Pomodoro technique: 25 minutes of focused work on one specific project — no distractions whatsoever! —followed by 5 minutes to stand up, stretch, and take a breather. (The Pom originator, Francesco Cirillo, named the technique for his tomato-shaped kitchen timer.) Each day on my calendar has Poms allotted to my active projects.
COMMS: This category covers everything involving exchange with other people: meetings, calls, email, purchases, bookings, contracts/invoicing. If I’m not careful, comms take up the whole day, so I try to cordon them off in their own segments.
NOMS: Every day needs some treats and delights, whether that’s a bike ride, coffee break, or walk with a friend. I want at least little moments throughout the day that honor my wellbeing.
Categorizing activities under these headings helps keep my expectations realistic, commit attention to all three categories, and stay present knowing each has its time. It’s still rare to accomplish everything I intend in a day — please share your time management tips! — but this structure at least ensures I reliably see progress on my larger projects and enjoy some restorative downtime.
For your journal: What are your categories of daily activity? How do you approach focused work in contrast to meetings or email? How do you make sure your comms don’t gobble up all the poms and noms?
Tomorrow starts a new week in the Journal Garden dedicated to REINVIGORATION. Join us risk-free for Reinvigoration Week and find out why members describe the prompts as an express pass to inner wisdom. We bring together journalers seeking a consistent practice to explore journaling prompts, tools, and live sessions so that we can have more “Aha!” moments that bring clarity, calm, focus, and joy.
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