Let’s face it, we all have countless tasks, meetings, phone calls, Tweets and everything else thrown at us everyday. Most of us have tried or currently use To Do lists and day planners. For some that works just fine and still, others struggle to keep up with everything. Either way, when it comes to being more productive, we must find a way to eliminate distractions that break our focus and hinder us from committing our entire attention on one thing. I don’t know about you, but I have become a pretty good multitasker!
But, multitasking can really kill productivity and give us a false sense of getting things done. For me, it can be very easy to spend hours in front of the computer on important and not so important tasks and never take a break. There have been plenty of times where there is so much to do, I skip lunch all together. This is not healthy and it creates poor productivity. This is why I would like to introduce you to…..
The Pomodoro Technique
Pomodoro is an Italian word for Tomato and was created around 20 years ago by a guy who was trying to figure out how to devote much more focused time on his projects and remain fresh and productive. He ended up using a kitchen timer that was in the shape of a tomato.
Here are the steps to implement the Pomodoro Technique:
1. Pick An Important Task That Needs To Be Done By You.
I am big on focusing on tasks only you can do. Preferably, the profit making tasks. Otherwise assign the other tasks to someone else. I try to filter tasks similar to the Get Things Done methodology.
2. Set A Timer For 25 Minutes.
Each 25 minute period is called a Pomodoro. This one is easy. You can use a real kitchen timer, or your smart phone, or even a an app on your desk top. I personally use one called Howler.
After four “pomodoros” have passed, (100 minutes of work time) you then take a 15-20 minute break. How does that measure up with the amount of break time you are currently getting during your work hours?
3. Work On That Task With 100% Of Your Focus.
This could take some practice training yourself not to get distracted. Be sure to turn off your social notifications, phone, and whatever else could popup and cause distractions. Also, try to work in a place where you won’t have people coming into your workspace.
4. When The 25 Minutes Are Up, You Take A 5 Minute Break.
Personally, I have found this part depends on what I’m doing. If I am writing, I might go a little longer since I am in the “zone”. But for all other tasks, I force myself to get up and get a drink of water, have a snack, a quick chat with someone, etc. Whatever it is, it has helped me come back to a different project with a freshness that really helps me focus on the next task at hand. Especially on days where I am focusing on the creative stuff, but something technical comes up. It’s hard to switch back and forth. So taking those breaks really do help!
I think the thing I like most about The Pomodoro Technique is it’s easy to implement. So commit to doing this over the next week and watch how much easier it is to focus and give the one task you are working on much greater attention. Like every productivity strategy, you must use what works best for you.
So give it a shot and let me know how it works for you! :)