Using the Pomodoro Technique for data management

Using the Pomodoro Technique for data management

I'm a huge fan of the Pomodoro Technique, which is a time management technique for breaking down larger projects into bite-sized pieces. I've found for someone like me who can be easily distracted, it's a very effective way to stay on task.

When it comes to data management, and especially data hygiene, my clients will often tell me how overwhelming it all is, which makes it difficult to decide where to begin. And when something feels overwhelming, there is a tendency to ignore it completely. This is where the Pomodoro Technique can be very powerful.

With the Pomodoro Technique, you're only committing yourself to 20-25 minutes of concentrated activity (I prefer 20). That's it. The goal isn't to get ALL the work done in 20 minutes, it's to get moving on the work and get something done.

Applying this to data hygiene, for example, you could choose to spend just 20 minutes to cleaning up some particular aspect of your database. Maybe start with all your volunteers (e.g., committee members) making sure all of their contact information is correct. Or maybe it's getting a list of meeting attendees from a separate system into your primary AMS. Or maybe it's making sure all of your company members have an active primary rep.

Whatever the activity is, use the Pomodoro Technique to get started on clean up. What I've found is often simply getting started is enough to keep you moving. And action is important when it comes to data hygiene, because as the data management cycle of doom demonstrates, if you're not consistently cleaning your data, it's getting worse.

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