Over the last year, I’ve found a marked decrease in productivity during project work due what seems like a lot more life interruptions.
I’m (a) easily distracted, (b) the king of procrastination and (c) frequently trying to multi-task to such a wide degree that I almost completely zone out and have revisit and rework things I’ve marked complete. Interruptions are insidious and I’ve discovered that its not the major breaks that break things but the small social ones. When I say ‘social’ I means by way of social media: emails, texts, facebook, twitter, instagram and the list goes on.
[ and thats not even mentioning kids, dogs and the missus wanting to pop out for a quick lunch]
Prevent the Interruptions
When I’m working on something, I’ve decided I need to put away my phone, tablet or other techno-interruptor and designate certain times to review it for messages. Many times I’ve replied to a text message from friends and/or family to be told “but i sent that message an hour ago” as if I am being utterly unreasonable! It’s not an instant world and I struggle daily to leave my technodevices alone. It’s OK too be unable to reply immediately. This got me to thinking about coming up with a plan to better manage my time.
Help might be at hand – This morning I stumbled across an excellent website called The Pomedoro Technique.
The Tomato Solution
In a nutshell – its a simple approach to personal time management that breaks the working day into simple small chunks, enforces break between these chunks and sets time aside for doing things. Pomodoro is Italian for tomato. Francesco Cirillo suggests to turn our tasks into tomatoes, 25 minutes long intervals. In turn we will accomplish more in less time. Newsweek listed the Pomodoro Technique as one of the best ways to “Get Smarter in 2012″ and it was voted the “Most Popular Productivity Method” by the Lifehacker community…. Filled with incredibly powerful time-management advice, The Pomodoro Technique is a godsend for procrastinators…. The Wall Street Journal says the method can “help anyone to focus.”
The basic unit of work in the Pomodoro Technique® can be split in five simple steps:
1. Choose a task to be accomplished
2. Set the Pomodoro to 25 minutes (the Pomodoro is the timer)
3. Work on the task until the Pomodoro rings, then put a check on your sheet of paper
4. Take a short break (5 minutes is OK)
5. Every 4 Pomodoros take a longer break
I will definitely have a go at applying this and blog more on the results.
This is what the Pomodorians say:
The Pomodoro Technique isn’t like any other time-management method on the market today. What makes it so unique?
|1. WORK WITH TIME – NOT AGAINST IT
For many people, time is an enemy. We race against the clock to finish assignments and meet deadlines. The Pomodoro Technique teaches you to work with time, instead of struggling against it. A revolutionary time management system, it is at once deceptively simple to learn and life-changing to use.
2. ELIMINATE BURNOUT
Essential to the Pomodoro Technique is the notion that taking short, scheduled breaks while working eliminates the “running on fumes” feeling you get when you’ve pushed yourself too hard. It’s impossible to over work when you stick to the system. You may end up taking fewer sick days, too!
3. MANAGE DISTRACTIONS
Whether it’s a call, a Facebook message, or suddenly realizing you need to change the oil in your car, many distracting thoughts and events come up when you’re at work. The Pomodoro Technique will help you log your distractions and order them according to priority levels. Often, they can wait.
4. CREATE A BETTER WORK / LIFE BALANCE
Most of us are intimately acquainted with the guilt that comes from procrastinating. If we haven’t had a productive day, it’s pretty easy to end up feeling like we can’t enjoy our free time. Becoming a Pomodoro Master involves creating an effective timetable, allowing you to truly enjoy your time off.