Let’s get productive.
Did you ever notice how some days your productivity seems to be at über impressive and other days it’s nothing to write home about. No matter what you do on those days you can’t seem to muster up the focus needed for the tasks at hand. Enter the Pomodoro Technique.
#1 The Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique creates short bursts of focused time to work on each activity allowing you to complete projects faster and without mental burnout.
The idea is super simple. Each task or project is budgeted and breaks are awarded. You work uninterrupted for 25 minutes, then take a five-minute break.
Each 25-minute focused session is called a “pomodoro”, named after the Italian word for tomato. (The method’s inventor, Francesco Cirillo used a tomato-shaped kitchen timer to track his time.) After you’ve completed four “pomodori,” you can take a longer break to regroup and recharge.
Research shows that this type of workflow can enhance your focus when you return to the task after your break.
Ready to give it a try? Let’s go!
- Review your to do list. Jot down a quick list of three tasks you need to accomplish today. Next you’ll give your best estimate as to how long each task should take you, in terms of the number of pomodori (25-minute sessions) you will need to complete it. Schedule in time for your breaks: five minutes for each session completed, plus a longer 20- to 30-minute break after four pomodori or 1.5–2 hours).
- Start the timer and focus! Grab your kitchen timer or use any number of apps available and get timing! Check out the Pomodoro timer available for iPhone® or Android™. Now that the timer is set, make a commitment to pay attention to each task at hand and do not get distracted by other work. Set your phone to ‘do not disturb’, close your office door, and turn off that attention-getting email ding. Don’t be frustrated if you get distracted. This technique takes practice! If something crosses your mind that you must remember, just jot it down on a notepad and get back to your task. The longer you work with this technique, the easier it will get to focus on each task.
- Take that break! You earned your first break, so be sure to take it. It’s only five minutes so take a quick walk, do a few stretches, or take a few minutes to meditate. Don’t worry about getting out of the flow that you were in during the pomodoro. Allowing yourself this time will help restore your energy, keep your concentration levels up longer and increase your productivity once you get back to your tasks.
- Keep it up. After four consecutive pomodori sessions, you’ll be ready for your first long break! Take 20 to 30 minutes to get away from your desk and clear your mind. But, by all means, please adjust for what works best for you. If you’re feeling exhausted after three pomodori, take your longer break earlier.
We’re curious to see how this worked for you! Comment below to let us know! Good luck!
#2 The Productivity App
The theme of my month has been productivity, so I’ve really been diving into the inns and outs of getting things done. Each new year has this effect on me and it makes me think about habits. Most of the time when you’re trying to make a big change, you need to develop a new habit or quit a destructive one. I could think of more than a handful of habits that would help my business in a positive way, but I like to start small. It works well for me to see results and build momentum rather than diving in all the way.
Be Productive – Track your Habits
I started using an app called Productive to track my habits. My goal was to meditate and journal every morning to start my day off with a clear head. This app allows you to set goals in many different areas of your life (see Habits screenshot) and the time of day you’d like to get it done. You can use their suggestions under each theme (see Efficiency screenshot) or you can set your own.
I wouldn’t say I’ve been 100% successful (see my calendar view since I started using the app last Tuesday) but I definitely have done more than I would have without using it. As Jerry Seinfeld says, “Your only job is to not break the chain.” It certainly helps to put it into such simple terms.
So, what do you think? Would this app be helpful in your business or life? My guess is that it would. Sometimes it’s just the cheerleader that we all need! Good luck getting productive!