Freelance Files: The Pomodoro Technique - The Secret to Your Success?
I Bullet Journal (you should too) & I make sure to theme my days & write everything down. Because, (even though all the smartphone makers claim to the contrary) it really helps you to remember tasks & set your intentions for the day.
But what about when I am ready to work, coffee in hand… how do I use my time effectively?
Enter a productivity hack/technique that is worth its weight in gold. The Pomodoro Technique. The technique is said to greatly improve your focus, increasing your productivity.
This is something I do regularly (particularly when I get to write these blog posts); so, I thought I would share this AMAZING trick for you to get more done.
So What Is It?
Billed as a time management tool, this technique, named after the tomato timer its creator, Francesco Cirillo used to refine the technique. It encourages you to work with the time you have to complete a project rather than the against it.
The traditional technique requires you to break your project or workday into 25 minute chunks separated by 5 minute breaks. These intervals are referred to as Pomodoros. After about four Pomodoros; you take a longer break of about 15 to 20 minutes. Having tried this version, I have found a slightly altered version works best for me.
It is believed that the presence of a timer tricks your brain into a state of urgency, rather than giving an unrestricted deadline; meaning you aren’t squandering your valuable & precious work hours on Instagram, Buzzfeed or Twitter, because you know if you’ll know you have an alarm going off in the next five minutes.
In addition to all of that, knowing you have a break coming up will do wonders for your productivity too. Say goodbye to rewarding yourself with a trip to the loo once when you finish that email (which is DEFINITELY something I have done in the time before Methodical.
The technique (even my refined one) has meant that I feel infinitely better at the end of the day because I know I am being more productive & less stressed at the end of each day.
When you first start, it can feel a bit weird, because you are actively stopping (sometimes you can feel like you are getting into a groove), many lose steam when they ignore your timer to just finish that sentence. But stick with it, you will get more done, even if it doesn’t feel like it at first. Many others found they were eager to complete as many small tasks in their 25 minute Pomodoros as possible.
I found, by using this technique, I spent much less “work” time on Reddit, Twitter & Instagram than I did previously & was able to clearly focus on one task at a time (which is what we all should be doing!)
So How Do You Apply This In The Real World?
“This sounds great!” I hear you shout, but how do you interact with others when taking part in this technique?
Yes, I work for myself & that means I spend an excruciating amount of time on my own, so this works BRILLIANTLY for me, but I used to work in a couple of very busy offices, so I understand your reservations (I can practically hear the eye roll). People will not figure out how to work around your new schedule, they aren’t cool like that.
The solution is simple.
Use your judgement & apply it when needed. If you are running a meeting & you are leading it, why not try a Pomodoro meeting? You’d be surprised how much you can get done.
If you have a meeting scheduled plan your Pomodoros around it or just stop for the moment. Because your day is segmented, you can easily pick up where you left of.
Personally I have found, that the 25 minute segments weren’t ideal for me; but I do find I can get more done in 45 minute “Super Pomodoros “ with a 15 minute break each time.
Your brain can focus for around 45 minutes, so you can give your task at hand your full attention, before you start to drift. Similarly, with a slightly longer “Pomodoro“ you’ll find you can complete whole tasks in that time period too… an added bonus!
So, if you are looking for something to help you get your task list down that doesn’t involve coffee & burning the midnight oil, this may be the hack for you!
Why not let me know what you think? I’d love to hear if the traditional technique worked best for you, or my varied technique helped you feel more productive? I can see the final grains of sand circling my timer, so I am off for my beloved cup of coffee & 10 minutes (tops) of r/damnthatsinteresting.