Do you have a problem focusing on the task at hand?
Last Friday, I was desperate to find a way to deal with my lack of focus. I was also desperate to be more productive and avoid procrastinating.
I realized that I’m more focused and productive whenever there’s a time tracker for my work. Then, I remembered what a good friend shared with me—the Pomodoro technique.
The Pomodoro technique is a time management technique developed by Francesco Cirillo to increase productivity at work and study.
It works like this:
- Choose a task to work on for one Pomodoro. One Pomodoro is equivalent to 25 minutes of uninterrupted work. Write down the task on a piece of paper.
- Set your timer to 25 minutes or one Pomodoro.
- Work on your task until the alarm sets off. Should you think of a new task to work on while working on your task, write it down on a sheet of paper and continue working on the task at hand.
- Put a check on the task you completed.
- Take a short a break. Five minutes will do. Meditate. Pray. Take a walk. Do something not related to your work. Relax.
- After every four Pomodoros, take a long break. Maybe ten, twenty, or even thirty minutes.
- Repeat for every task.
Some other stuff:
- What if you have a task that takes more than one Pomodoro to finish? What I do is that I do it in multiple Pomodoros until I finish it. If I cannot finish it in one day and I need to do some other projects, then I dedicate a fixed number of Pomodoros for it a day. Then, I do some other projects using the Pomodoro technique as well.
- Take the time off. Really. We can burn ourselves out in weeks, months, or years. But, we can also burn ourselves out during the day. Also, when you respect your need to take a break, you won’t feel tired when the day ends. You might also feel excited to get back to work tomorrow.
- I assign 12 to 16 Pomodoros a day—equivalent to six to eight hours of uninterrupted work. Whenever I plan for my tasks the night before, I assign a number of Pomodoros for each task totalling to 12 to 16 Pomodoros. If I finish faster then 12 to 16 Pomodoros, I can add some tasks or call it a day. (Most of the time, I think I'll call it a day and play basketball or jog.)
- I use the Tomato Timer as my friend suggested to keep track of my time. You can use it as well. It’s a browser-based app and it’s free. You can also use your phone’s countdown timer and set it to 25 minutes for one Pomodoro, five minutes for your short-break, and ten, twenty, or thirty minutes for your long-break.
What do you think? Let’s try doing this experiment this week and see whether we can, indeed, be more productive and focused.
Also, feel free to share this with your friends and teammates. Isn’t it nice to have a productive workplace?