I have spent a little time recently detailing some of the productivity hacks I use to manage my time between developing the business here and client work. I use a time proven productivity technique where I look at only six tasks per day and we are always looking at how to reduce wasted time and focus our efforts on the 20% of work that typically delivers 80% of the results. Still there is another important element to this picture which is clearly focusing on the task at hand.
The Pomodoro Technique
It’s a peculiar name so let me quickly explain lest it distracts you from what is a simple and powerful technique. Pomodoro is the Italian word for Tomato and the strategy is named after the creator, Francesco Cirillo used a kitchen timer shaped like a tomato as his personal timer. Makes sense when you think about it like that.
The basic thinking is this:
- 25 minutes of focused work
- 5-minute break
- after 4 sessions have passed you take a longer break (20 mins or so)
That’s it. Much like the six tasks per day strategy, it is so simple there is absolutely no barrier to entry. This helps keep you focused, reduces the wasted time associated with context switching and prevents the burnout and reduction in productivity associated with doing anything for too long without a break. Where some of my tasks can end up being 3 hours this allows me to get away and have a break so I keep my focus and productivity. I try to ensure that none of my daily tasks gets more than four Pomodoro’s of work but… it does happen. This allows me to segment things nicely though and keeps my productivity high.
A word to the wise (and productive)
This can take a bit of time. Give it a couple of days and you will see your productivity start to go up. Give it a few weeks and your productivity in these 25-minute blocks will continue to skyrocket. Don’t neglect the 5-minute breaks. These are an important component. Go for a brief walk. Talk to a colleague. Do some breathing exercises. A bit of exercise to get the blood pumping. The breaks are every bit as important and only by focusing and then breaking in this manner will you truly unlock you productivity potential!
Simple and effective
Like many of the best productivity strategies, this is simple and effective. Combine this with a sensible number of daily tasks, continuous improvement in your processes and no damn multi-tasking and you’re are well on your way to doing twice the work in half the time.