Last year, I stumbled onto a productivity hack that transformed how I work. The beautiful thing is that it’s ridiculously simple and can be used anywhere, on any type of project.
It’s called the Pomodoro Technique and it has the potential to streamline your work, increase your focus, keep your energy levels up, and keep distractions at bay.
Here’s how it works:
You set a timer for 25 minutes. During that time, you work exclusively on a given task. You don’t check your email, you don’t scroll through Twitter, you don’t change the music—you just work on one designated task.
After that 25 minute block (called a Pomodoro, which means tomato in Italian), you take a five minute break. After 3-4 Pomodoros (or Pomodori), you take a longer, 15-30 minute break.
How can something so simple be so great?
I’m telling you, there’s something to it. You can get an impressive amount accomplished in an uninterrupted 25 minute block. Having that timer running keeps you on-task and working efficiently.
Another great benefit to using this technique is that you can organize your daily to-do list into Pomodoros. By planning your day this way, you can schedule, in advance, how much time you can give to a particular project. Then by following the schedule, you keep your work day on track.
For instance, if I want to get a first draft of an article written, but I have interview preparation to do, pitches to send, and blog posts to write, I’ll schedule two Pomodoros for the draft, work on it for that time, and when the two are up, I move on to the next task. Next time I’m working, I can pick up where I left off, with a new Pomodoro or two.
This works really well for me because if I don’t stay on schedule, I tend to go down the wormhole of one article or project and spend hours working on it, to the exclusion of the others. Sometimes I get really locked in to something and go over the allotted time, but I do my best to stick to my schedule.
There are Pomodoro timers you can buy, and a Pomodoro Technique book you can read, but any timer will work and the foundation of the technique is as simple as using those blocks of work time and breaks. For months, I used the timer on my phone.
If you want to work faster and more efficiently (not to mention the health benefits of taking regular breaks), give the Pomodoro technique a try. You have nothing to lose and you may find that it’s just the thing to step up your productivity.
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