We all have the same 24 hours per day to get stuff done. Time is our most valuable asset. Once it’s used up, we can never get it back. As a result, we don’t want to waste any minute, do we?
The most productive people you know will have a system in place that works well for them, so that no minute is wasted. For the last month or so I’ve been using the Pomodoro Technique.
What is that???
I’ll save you the time (so you won’t have to google it) and just tell you all about the technique. The Pomodoro Technique is a way to work. You focus in on your work for 25 minutes and take a short break, typically 5 minutes. Each 25 and 5 cycle is called a Pomodoro. After you complete 3 or 4 Pomodoros, you take a little bit longer break, maybe 15 minutes. Then you start again.
That sounds strange. Why would I do that???
When you can focus in on one task for a solid amount of time uninterrupted, you get a lot done in that short amount of time. The intensity of your focus is greater. The small breaks in between each session rests your brain enough to go again. By creating this habit, your focus sessions are sustainable all day long instead of binging on longer focus sessions and feeling a level of fatigue before your day is done.
During the last month or so that I’ve been using this method, I didn’t even experience an afternoon slump. I didn’t work so hard all day long and then hit that wall where productivity drops in the afternoon. All the little breaks in the day offered a chance to get up and move around and take my eyes off the computer. My brain could think of other things for a few minutes, and then get back to it for another focus session.
Tips to Make the Pomodoro Technique Work
Of course, I have some tips for you! These tips might help you at least think about how you might try this method.
Tip #1 – Use a Timer
You can use a simple kitchen timer on your stove or one of those little portable kitchen timers. I like the time and date online timer found here, because it’s completely customizable. Once you use it, you can reset it and go again. You can even choose the alarm that goes off when time’s up. As a side note, I recommend that you don’t use the “alarm” sound, because it might make you jump out of your chair. There are several types of sounds to choose from to fit your style.
Tip #2 – Plan Ahead
Some people like to fit specific tasks into each 25-minute window. For me and my work, I perform a quick scan of what I have to do and just start in taking care of like tasks together. Other than that, I don’t go into any detailed planning. So, don’t let that tip deter you from trying the technique.
Tip #3 – Take the Breaks
Even small breaks are better than no breaks. With the level of focus you are exerting in those 25 minutes you will likely not make it through another 25 minutes without finding your focus waning. One of the reasons you can sustain a high level of focus is because you know a break is coming soon. So, take those breaks. You’ll thank yourself at the end of the day.
Because I love giving a bonus. Do what works for you. Play around with the technique. I would recommend sticking to the 25 and 5 for about a month. Once you have that routine down, you will have a better understanding of how much you can get done and how you are feeling at each interval throughout the day.
Maybe stretch your focus out a little longer but give yourself a little longer break at the appropriate interval. Whatever you need to be at your best all day long.
As humans we are all different in our needs. If you find something is not working, try a different interval. Through all your trials, you may in the end determine that the 25 and 5 is best – or not!
Question of the Day: Do you use the Pomodoro Technique or have you tried it in the past? If yes, what about it has worked best for you? Share your tip in the comments section below, so that we can all learn from one another.
And that’s all for today! Thank you for stopping in and reading. As always, if there is a productivity topic you would like to discuss, let me know!
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