“if you can learn to focus … for 25 minutes, you can increase your overall productivity,…. you can accomplish more when you are not burnt out”
Do you often complain about the day not being enough? Or the day being spread too thin? Or just being unable to concentrate when you are finally able to squeeze out time to work? I know that I’m not alone here and if you are like the rest of us mortals, you want to increase your productivity.
When I first heard about the pomodoro technique from one of my favourite YouTubers, Amy Landino (I have lots of favourites). I google it and once I implemented what I had read, my productivity increased alarmingly.
In a nutshell, the Pomodoro technique helps you learn to focus for 25 minutes at a time. The basic idea is that if you can learn to focus on one task for 25 minutes, you can increase your overall productivity. The 25-minute work intervals is referred to as pomodoros and the technique generally involves six steps.
Now let us get into it:
Step 1: Choose a task
Decide on whatever it is you need/ want to get done. It doesn’t really matter how big or small the task is, just decide on what it is.
Step 2: Set your timer for 25 minutes
Set the timer and make yourself a promise to just work and do nothing else within the 25 minutes. Your goal is to make the most of your time.
Step 3: Work on the task for 25 minutes
Now start your task. For those struggling to concentrate, 25 minutes might seem like a lot, but you can do it. You are learning to focus, so do your best to work only on the task you have chosen. If something crosses your mind, jot it down somewhere and go on with your task, you’ll get back to it later. This time is for your task alone.
Remember: you only have 25 minutes to get some work done, you can check your phone and emails once the 25 minutes is up.
Step 4: Put a check/tick on a paper when your timer is up
This is to keep track of the number of sessions (25-min work times) you’ve had.
Step 5: Rest/Take a break for 5 minutes and set your timer for 25 minutes again
During the 5 minutes, you can do whatever you want except work on your task. You are giving your brain and mind some time to rest. So, you may take a short walk, meditate, do yoga or some form of exercise, anything relaxing and unrelated to your task.
Step 6: Take a longer break every 4 Pomodoros
Once you’ve completed four 25-minute work sessions, take a break for about 15 to 30 minutes depending on how much time you need. This is to let your brain rest and take in whatever you have learnt or to just give your mind a break before the next round of pomodoros.
You may use this as a guide. Once you find that you can stay focused for longer than 25 minutes, you may increase your time but make sure it works for you. The aim is to get more out of the limited time you have.
The paper/book you use to tick off each of your pomodoros will give you an overview of the time you’ve spent on your tasks.
With consistent use of the technique, you
- find yourself getting less distracted
- are able to better estimate how much time is needed to complete your tasks
- make less mistakes due to your improved concentration and ultimately
- are more productive.
Once the quality of your work increases, the more motivated you feel to get to work.
For the timer, you can consider Goodtime (this I use). Its added advantage is that it counts the number of sessions for you and when your work session is on, it turns off your Wi-Fi and turns it back on when you are taking a break. That way, you don’t get distractions from notifications. If you choose to work online, you can use Productivity timer.
NB: You can accomplish more when you are not burnt out.
Feature photo by bongkarn thanyakij
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