When that challenge started, I found it really hard to read 25 pages a day especially if the book that I had selected was really technical or detail oriented but something interesting happened as the months went on. Later in the challenge I found it really easy to intensely focus on those 25 pages even if they took a full hour to read until I was done. So if your initial attempts to work with that intense level of focus seem difficult, just remember that over time it's going to get easier and your ability to do it is going to improve. Tip number five is to use timers to guide your work but leave some buffer room at the end of those timers in your schedule. Now I talk a lot on the channel about the Pomodoro technique, setting a timer for 25 minutes and working on that single task you selected and nothing else until the timer goes off.
But a lot of people seem to think that they're obligated to take a break at the end of that Pomodoro session and I don't do this. For me, the Pomodoro session is just a way to get started, to overcome that initial resistance to doing the work. But once I get into it, I often work for an hour or more. I ignore the timer when it goes off. The thing is, it can really take some time to get into that state of mind where you're really intensely focused on your task. You can't do it within five or ten minutes so again, the Pomodoro technique is just a way to get yourself started. Let yourself work past the end of that timer. That being said don't give yourself too much time either. Because time pressure can be a very powerful motivator. As the author Adriana Trigiani once said, "There's nothing an artist needs more, even more than excellent tools and stamina, than a deadline." (electronic music) Our sixth principle was best expressed by the artist Pablo Picasso, "Without great solitude, no serious work is possible." If you want to be able to focus on your work intensely and get really good creative work done, for the most part you need to be doing it alone.
Now there are obviously caveats to this, a lot of good collaborative work is done in teams. But often the best way the teams work is by coming together for short little bursts, communicating, collaborating and then having everyone go off to work in solitude to really focus on their assigned part of the project. And there are even some times when working together with a partner for a full work session does work well. When I took statistics back in my sophomore year, I did have a partner who would come to my dorm every single time we had an assignment, we would do it together but what I concluded about that experience is number one, I wasn't good friends with this person at all, she would show up, we would do our work, and that was basically the extent of our relationship. And secondly, statistics is a particular kind of subject where you can kind of come to the answer very logically.