Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Pelko Method

Time management is a vital skill for any startup CEO and even more important for someone like me who's running a startup, being a full-time Dad, and working up to my first triathlon.

I know that many readers will be tempted to use the so called Pomodoro Technique of time management. Here's how PT works. You get a little timer (either software or a real kitchen style timer with a bell) and you set it for 25 minutes. You work on your task for 25 minutes and then task switch and use the timer again.

It's called the Pomodoro Techinque because pomodoro is Italian for tomato and the preferred timer for PT fans is a tomato shaped kitchen timer.

Now, I don't want to diss people who are using this technique, because at least they are trying, but it's really a rather feeble technique. Personally, I use the Pelko Method.

Pelko is Finnish for 'fear' and was invented by time management guru Dr Timo Käyhkö. I was lucky enough to attend one of Dr Käyhkö's $2,000 day seminars last year and for a small fee spend some time one on one with the guru.

I asked him about the Pomodoro Technique and how it compared. His exact words were "The Pomodoro Technique, are you kidding me? People are seriously learning productivity and time management techniques from Italians! From Italians!", and started to laugh.

He continued, "Time management from people who sleep all afternoon and productivity from people whose only product is expensive sports cars that break down a lot."

So, I asked how Pelko was different. Dr Käyhkö replied, "Do you know which major country Finland has a border with?". I had to admit that I thought it was Belgium.

"No, cretin, it's Russia. My whole childhood I grew up in fear of being invaded by the Russians. My mother would yell at me at night 'Do your homework quickly before a Russian shoots you'". Everything had to be done in a hurry in my house. I'm not sure what she was afraid of, we lived in Utsjoki and would have been over the border into Norway had the Russians ever really come".

"But then it dawned on me, fear is the greatest motivator. Fear is what got me through high school, through the University of Phoenix. Fear."

"And that's when I invented the Pelko Method".

But, I said, "No one's afraid of the Russians any more".

Käyhkö sighed, "You're really special. It's fear that matters not Russia. The Pelko Method plays on fear. You set your Pelko Timer (which is in the shape of a hand grenade) to 25 minutes and then you start working. But here's the best part: you don't know when it's going to go off. It could be in 25 minutes, or 20, or 15. It's random."

"That instils fear in the mind of the user. Fear that they might not complete their task, and so they work hard."

And that, dear readers, is why the Pelko Method is a work of pure genius.

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