Take your time. No matter how you do it, the aim is to increase productivity so that you may be as effective as possible. How? There are many ways to do this, and every person should try and find his or her own. We would now like to introduce you to one out of many: the Pomodoro Technique.
In the last few years, there’s been a boom in the number of companies created, that of self-employed professionals, that of freelance professionals and that of people who became their own boss. As a consequence, we are faced with having to do thousands of tasks at the same time, and everything is to be taken on at once. This takes a toll or our minds: being stressed, attending to everything and eventually nothing, losing focus once and again… Now, after the years in which small and medium enterprises have been created, it’s time to focus on productivity. We have seen that productivity has significantly decreased, partly because our concerns increased as we became business owners. For the sake of our business, it is essential to put an end to such a situation and make our time as productive as possible. In case you didn’t know, or else if you were thinking there’s something you can do about it, there are only 24 hours in a day, you need to devote to your clients all the time you get paid to do so (but not more of it, no matter how hard they try to get you to) and you must live your own life, enjoy it and have a private life of your own. Thus, it is essential for you to use a formula that enables you to make your productivity grow. We regard it as a fundamental subject and we now want to introduce a system that has worked well for us. You bet on it, I am a creative person who is always handling one thousand things at once, I even speak to the flies that fly past me and distractions are my life companions. This is the “Pomodoro System”.
What is the Pomodoro Technique?
You may have already heard about it, particularly if you are trying to find a way to make your business more productive. Just in case, I’ll introduce it in just one sentence: “this a technique that was exclusively developed and focused to improve and increase time management”. That’s the real thing, what matters the most is your time management and the time you devote to any task you tackle. There’s nothing more to it, it doesn’t do anything else, it focuses exclusively on optimizing your time and making every second count towards productivity and towards providing benefits to your business.
This is a recent technique (it was launched late in the 1980s decade by Francesco Cirillo), quite an elementary and basic technique to organize your day, devote time to tasks and divide it into structured periods. You are expected to make sure that you are not getting distracted; what’s more, you are expected not to pay any attention to distractions, so that you make the most of your day. There are no more twists and turns, no hidden formulas, no other business situations are tackled, but still by just applying it you may be sure that your productivity will increase a lot, and so will your personal satisfaction stemming from a well done job. This is an invaluable asset, and it will enable you to sleep peacefully (yes, that’s also possible for a freelance worker, even if it’s hard to believe; you just need to focus on other areas).
What is this really about?
This is about dividing your time periods in smaller parts and having frequent breaks. Yes, frequent breaks. Far from the widespread belief stating that the less you stop focusing on what you are doing, the better the productivity outcome will be, this system states that periodic and frequent breaks increase mental agility, which entails many other benefits for your work as well. Managing to provide an efficient, useful response for the time you devote to any given thing is the first and foremost goal for the Pomodoros, but removing any distractions from your routine, whether they are external (the Internet, phone calls, conversations) or internal (your thoughts or other internal voices) is the most important aim to be achieved.
This is introduced by means of 25-minute work periods. Just 25 minutes!! That’s great news. You won’t need to keep doing the same for hours and hours on a row, but rather establish 25-minutes “moments” in which you have to devote all your time and energy to working (no rest, no distractions); after that, you take a break. Well, just a 5-minute break, but you need to stop in order to get back to work after a small “reboot”.
In short, in order to introduce the aforementioned technique you need to stick to several previous steps (which are mentioned below) but it is based on intense 25-minute working periods and 5-minute breaks. Every time you finish a 25-minute period you will earn a Pomodoro, which will empower you with feelings of satisfaction and achievement and the motivation to undertake the following period. Once you have earned 4 Pomodoros, you will be entitled to a longer break. Thus, you will be improving your productivity in a significant manner.
Keys for the technique to be successful.
Above all, you need to be responsible and commit yourself to doing it. Doing what you are supposed to do and avoid fooling yourself. If you find it hard to focus your attention on anything for quite a long time, and you are a person who gets distracted easily, don’t be too hard on yourself and work step by step, don’t try to do everything at once from the very beginning. If you do, you will easily feel frustrated and abandon the technique, which would be much worse than trying to do it. So work slowly and always keep in mind that you will need to do the following in order to earn many Pomodoros:
• Plan carefully: lack of proper planning will lead the technique (or any other technique) to meaninglessness and lack of proper results.
• Write everything down: you need to write down everything that happens to you while you are applying the technique: whether you didn’t complete a 25-minute process, whether you lost focus or somebody came to talk to you… everything must be kept in writing.
• Keep a register: besides writing everything down, set anything you write down in order and provide meaning to it (in the proper box, at the proper time).
• Process: do it correctly, don’t skip any steps, include all parts and give all of them due relevance.
• Insight: as in any other activity, measuring, measuring and measuring is the key to evaluate results and improve.
Previous (or daily) steps to put the technique intro practice
As with anything else, before you start counting minutes and/or setting the alarm on your watch, an action outline must be developed. This will help us work more objectively, produce high-quality work and measure results. What are these steps?
• Before you start working every day, or perhaps the night before, get to work and plan ahead the tasks you have decided to perform on that given day. Make a list of the tasks you are to undertake, and specify them. This will also help you find out the time and resources you need to launch them.
• On with the Pomodoro. This is the right time. When you are about to start a task, set your clock and start counting the 25-minute period.
• Work and develop the task as if there were no tomorrow. That’s the way you’re supposed to do it, no matter how familiar it sounds. Get focused and work on that. There is nothing else in the World right now, just what you are doing at the moment, and this will remain so until the alarm sounds and tells you the 25-minute period is over.
• And then… Congratulations! You earned a Pomodoro, and that means two things: you earned an X in your box and you earned 5 minutes to rest, refresh your mind and reconnect.
• And back to work: another 25-minute period starts. You keep doing that until you earn 4 Pomodoros. 4 Pomodoros entitle you to a 15-20 minutes to do whatever you feel like doing and feel fulfilled and proud of your achievements.
That’s it; there’s nothing else to be done. This is all you have to do. Don’t forget to write down your distractions, so that you may try to correct them further on and find out how to do it. Help yourself, make it easy for yourself, remove any distractions from your desk, your computer or any tool you use in your work.
Hand-written or computer-assisted
Choose whatever appeals the most to you. You may use the technique the way you prefer, as you are the one in command and the person who’s going to reap the benefits, so make it as comfortable as possible for you. If you choose handwriting, you just need a timer, a sheet of paper and a pen. You will be able to write everything down and measure the time you need for every action. Nevertheless, if you are more computer-oriented, there are many applications and software options (either free or pay) that help you manage your tasks and measure the time you invest, and that even provide a picture of the Pomodoros you earned.
For technology-oriented people, the 3 suggestions below may be useful:
Marinaratimer, Pomodoro, TomatoTimer.
Pomodoro means tomato in Italian. The creator of the technique just liked the sound of it. That’s all.
Now there is no reason why you shouldn’t increase your productivity. Get down to it, you just need to try it. Only a willingness to become more productive and focus on what you are doing is required.
Without the slightest doubt, what may be the most beneficial for your work is making the most of your time. In order to achieve this goal, always choose an All-in-1 solution for management. We have tried that and it works!
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