One of the best things you can do for yourself is to learn how to manage time effectively. The last couple of months, I’ve been trying to find time management strategies that work well for me. I have a habit of wasting a lot of time, and this slows down my productivity. For example, a project I’m working on which is supposed to take 1 hour has taken 2-3 hours because of constant distractions. I’m on the mission in life to get more done in my day because time is the most valuable commodity you have. A few months ago, I was introduced to the Pomodoro technique and it’s work incredibility well at increasing my productivity, focus, and quality of life.
Since it’s the beginning of a new month, and a fresh start for a lot of people, I would like to introduce the Pomodoro technique to you. I believe 30 days is long enough to build new positive habits. May 2017 will be dedicated to time management and increasing productivity. So, here’s what’s expected –
For the next consecutive 30 days, you’ll utilize the Pomodoro time management technique whenever you’re working. Use this technique to avoid distractions, improve focus, and increase productivity when you need to.
The objective is to determine how much your focus and productivity can change in 30 days. If it helps, it’s a positive habit you’ve incorporated into your life.
There are many benefits of using the Pomodoro technique. You will see an increase in –
- Work completed
- Energy and mental freshness
The idea is to work in blocks of 25 minutes, followed by short breaks of 5 minutes. After four Pomodoro sessions, you take one longer break of 20 minutes before starting the cycle over again.
Our distractions stem from temptations, and how easily we can find what we are looking for. For example, from our computer, we find solutions to every thought entering our mind. If you’re wondering what your friends are doing, log into Facebook. If you want to watch a movie, YouTube is a few clicks away. It doesn’t help that many of us fail to prioritize our day efficiently giving more attention to social media then project deadlines.
The Pomodoro time management technique is very effective because you get rewarded with short breaks whenever you complete a 25-minute session.
Let’s break down the steps –
1) The Plan
In the morning allocate 30 minutes to plan your day. Write down your tasks and how long each one will take you to complete. After, divide the time by 25 to determine the number of Pomodoro sessions required. For example, if you need to design a logo for your company and have put aside 1 hour (60 minutes) to complete this project, you will divide 60 by 25 which will give you 2.5 sessions.
Do this for every task on your worksheet or list.
2) Focus is Key
Distractions are a productivity killer and it can take up to 30 minutes to re-focus once you’ve gone off track. That’s why it’s important you prepare your workspace before getting started. Shut down your email, turn off your phone, and I recommended installing the StayFocused extension to block you from browsing the web. It’s a productivity extension for Chrome that helps you stay focused on work by restricting the amount of time you can spend on time-wasting websites.
If you’re having a hard time focusing, remember each session is only for 25-minutes then you have a 5-minute break to do whatever you want.
3) Start Working
Start the timer and begin working on the first task on your list. Work for 25-minutes completely focused on your tasks within any distractions. Do not move away from your assignment until the timer beeps at zero.
4) Take a Short Break
After completing the session, reward yourself with a short break for 5 minutes. Time your breaks so you’re ready when the next session is set to start.
5) Repeat Work Session
Pomodoro sessions are repeated 4 times before you get rewarded with a longer 20-minute break. It’s important when starting your next session, you work on the same task. Studies show jumping from one task to another can lower productivity by 40% because it requires more energy starting a new task then completing one already started.
6) Take a Longer Break
After completing four Pomodoro sessions, a longer break of 20 minutes is recommended. If you’re working on a complex task, you should take longer breaks more frequently. For example, instead of taking 20-minute breaks after 4 Pomodoro sessions, you should take one after completing 3 sessions. Find a setup which works well for you.
The idea for this month – May 2017 – is to make minor adjustments to the way you do things. It’s to become more efficient so you can get more done. By getting more done, you feel good about yourself and are making forward process. This helps boost confidence, self-esteem, and increase focus.
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