Talk Less, Smile More

I went to a workshop titled “Shut Up and Write!”, in an attempt to write my paper/make some figures/proofread my mates thesis. When I arrived they introduced us to the Pomodoro technique.

Yep, that means tomato.

The two hour session was split into four 25 minutes sections, with 5 minute breaks in between. We were asked to write down some achievable goals, turn off our phones, and disconnect from the internet. We then spent 25 minutes writing in silence, before a silent 5 minute break. Another 25 minutes, and a 10 minute break where we  could  talk amongst ourselves, have a walk and get a cup of tea. A third 25 minute writing session, then a 5 minute break where we talked about our progress and how our goals were going. Before a final 25 minutes writing.

We were encouraged to write down any distractions we had, and then continue writing.

Write down distractions? Don’t get carried away, and focus on scribbling your real work. That rings a bell… If you didn’t click that, it was a link to my thesis-writing blog. I accidentally stumbled onto a version of the Pomodoro technique whilst I was writing my thesis. I would try and write as much as I could, but whenever I felt distracted I would update my blog with whatever gibberish I could  think of.

As well as updating my tea count obviously.

So with that in mind, I decided to blog about my experience at the workshop, old school style. Enjoy!

As I’ve never been here before, I have literally no idea as to my goals. I’ve settled for;

  1. Finish my papers
  2. Proofread Sophie’s first chapter

That’s doable in like 2 hours yeah?

Anywho Quadrupède is on, my phone is off, and Lappy Jr is disconnected from the internet. Work time!

Time for my first five minute break. This is going pretty well. Obviously I’m only been doing 25 minutes, but still I think its going well. I didn’t even really want to stop for the five minute break.

Do you have any idea how long five minutes is when you have to sit there in silence doing nothing?!

Writing time.

Unfortunately the Quadrupède album isn’t actually that long, so I’ve had to change up my music. I guess I could try writing without it, but I’m not experimenting too much now. I’m already pretty sure it’ll turn out listening to music improves writing. I’ll just have to wait for the evidence and see what model gets created in the future. I mean I’m already pretty good at almost stumbling upon tried and tested techniques.

I thought there would be tea available, and am as disappointed as you can expect as Englishman to be without tea. If (when, let’s be realistic) I do this at home, I’ll definitely have a proper tea break.

We’re allowed to talk in this break, but as no-one knows anyone we’re all very awkward and most folks are mumbling. Anyway, time to stretch my legs, it’s not good for your cardiovascular system to sit for an hour anyway.

And my pedometer app is moaning at me.

I’ve ended up listening to my Happy Songs playlist on Spotify, which basically got me through my thesis.

Totally forgot how much I like that one Kidstreet song.

This is going really quickly. And it seems to be working. I’ve managed to get my paper finished, and now I’m reading Sophie’s thesis. I’m not entirely sure I’ll get this chapter done, but I’ll try my damndest.

Time for the final session.

Sophie is much better at writing than I am.


So, it works! I am definitely a fan of Shut Up and Write! At the organisers have asked if anyone would be willing to host their own workshop. I totally am, although it may well be in my man cave. There’s a very real chance I’ll use it as an excuse to book a room, and hide away for a couple of hours. I never really  get chance to write at work, as I feel obliged to spend my time in the lab. So locking myself away in a room for a designated time is probably a good idea.


Today’s quote is from Lin-Manuel Miranda, as I am totally obsessed with Hamilton at the moment.




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