Procrastination and interruptions were always the most productivity killers in my work. Due to Pomodoro Technique I managed to improve my workflow and I gained the focus I needed to get more stuff done in less time.
Every single day was a struggle for me to accomplish the things I’ve planned before.
I work in a 9 to 5 job (actually 8 to 6) and I plan, control and analyze all the costs involved in a building construction.
In this job I’m always working with numbers, worksheets, reports and graphs. No need to tell that I need focus all the time. The director’s board gives no space for mistakes (chills).
But my mind and my peers are always interrupting me. Things like:
- Do I need to go to supermarket today? Let’s make a list of things to buy.
- Checking twitter. Maybe Elon Musk posted something interesting.
- Checking phone notifications. My wife responded me. Let me see.
- Phone answering. Trying to solve problems by the phone.
- Email responses. I have to send this e-mail or the company stops (not really).
- Interruptions in person. People will always need your help to solve something.
Think for a minute. How my work will ever be done with this stuff getting in all the time? I researched for solving it and found out a bunch of techniques.
But the simplest one made the most difference right away.
It was the Pomodoro Technique.
You can apply it to corporative world. It’s hard when you work in a messy office with so many people calling and interrupting all the time. Well, seems like it’s impossible, but it’s not.
This technique is perfect for studying. But my experience in the office was great too.
What is The Pomodoro Technique?
Pomodoro is “Tomato” in Italian and was named after the famous kitchen timer.
The technique says that you need a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes, separated by short breaks. It was made for studying, but the same technique can be applied to many uses.
The main point of it is the FOCUS. It’s all about intense focusing on a specific task to get it done as quickly as possible, without any other effort.
It was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the 80s. I don’t want to dive in history here. I’m interested only in the outcome. More stuff done in less time.
This is how it works:
- Pick a task: Pick up a task from your to-do list that you’ll like to get done. Choose an important one.
- Set the timer: You can use a regular timer or an app. I use the Focus Keeper iphone app. Is about US$ 1.99 and you don’t have to touch the phone, it’s automatic. There’s a free version too.
- Work until the timer rings: If you use the regular time set, you’ll work for 25 minutes. Check out this spreadsheet if you want to change the time set.
- Take the short break: If you use the regular time set, the break will last 5 minutes. Check out this spreadsheet if you want to change the time set.
- Repeat it 4 times and take a longer break: Once again if you use the regular time set, the break will last between 20 and 30 minutes.
The Things You’ll Discover Doing The Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique is about learning how you do your work so you can save time in the future. Not just about getting things done NOW.
Here are some productivity gems that you’ll learn with this technique.
- You’ll know how much time and effort will you need to get a task done. This is a view for the past tasks. Where all your time goes? Now you know. Pomodoro is an overview of the time you’ve spent on a bunch of tasks.
- Discipline your peers. You’ll learn how to handle that annoying interruption while staying focused on the task at hand. It’s normal to receive calls and e-mails but you can afford to take 25 minutes before calling back or replying to an email.
- Estimate the effort for tasks. This is a view for the future tasks. You’ll be able to estimate more efficiently the time needed to accomplish anything.
- Set the mind to succeed. Your mind will start to avoid distractions. You’ll know that this little piece of time is important.
- Value free time. It’s important to have a mind break. The time you spend and how you spend it is in sight now. Do something that will make you happy and enjoy it.
Once you’ve got momentum you’ll be able to accurately predict how many Pomodoros it will take to accomplish tomorrow’s, or next week’s, tasks.
How To Improve For Your Better Use
- Set the Pomodoro according to your workflow. 25 minutes of focused work and 5 minutes of break is the form of pomodoro technique but you can do it your way. Take me for example. I use 45 minutes of work with a 9 minute break. Check out my free pomodoro worksheet.
- Use Parkinson Law to set limits. The task you that you have to finish within 5 days, set the goal for making it in 3.
- Use a Moleskine Notebook or a draft block. Jot down the distractive toughts and interruptions to do later, than get back to work.
- Make use of an app. You can track an optimize how you use your time. I use Focus Keeper iPhone app for that.
- Do it frequently but don’t push too much. Some tasks doesn’t fit to Pomodoro. Some days in the office will be hell. Use it wise, don’t let circumstances win.
I want to make it clear that everyone is different. Maybe you’ll never like this technique.
However, this technique dramatically improved my work. 3 times to be exactly. You can do it too, it’s hard, but doable.
After all that I want to bring a question. Do you use pomodoro technique or another?
Post on comment section bellow or send me in twitter.
Bye guys! 🙂