How can you improve your productivity and keep your focus steady on a daily basis?
The common perception, whether working from home or an office is that one should work long hours and keep as busy as possible which would equate to high productivity.
Studies have shown (specifically one conducted by the University of Illinois in 2008) that being stuck to your desk for prolonged periods of time actually diminishes your productivity. Instead, regular short breaks aids you by strengthening your focus and increases your energy levels. To top it off, research studies have proven that long hours spent at your desk can actually harm your health.
In essence, prolonged periods of inactivity have been associated with various illnesses such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and that is just to mention a few.
Well, you ask what is it that could get me more focused, energized and productive in less time? That would be the Pomodoro Technique. I was introduced to the Pomodoro method by my mentor.
Is the Pomodoro right for you? For me, it has improved my productivity in more ways than one. For example, in my case, I would sit in my office all day thinking how productive I had been, but once I put the pomodoro into use, I realized just how much time I was wasting from distractions such as texts, Facebook and videos.
My mentor mentioned that if I only achieved less than 4 pomodoros I would go broke, however if I could hit the target of 8, I would be well off.
The Pomodoro Technique was created by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s. His best- selling book of the same name was updated and revised in 2013.
Here are some of the benefits of using this strategy and a brief explanation of what it is about, so that you can better manage your time. In the end, it is a matter of personal preference and you decide whether it is for you or not.
This technique is a time management tool that targets to provide the user with sharper focus as well as enhanced creativity while allowing them to complete projects at a much faster pace. And the bonus in all this: less mental fatigue and more alertness
This simple and easy process can be applied to all your projects throughout the day. What you do to start off is to budget your time into short intervals and take breaks periodically. Here is the breakdown: a) work for 25 minutes, b) then take a break for five minutes. Each 25-minute work period/interval is called a “pomodoro”, which in Italian means tomato. Francesco Cirillo utilized a kitchen timer shaped like a tomato as his personal timer, and hence the name was born.
Once you have passed four “pomodoros”, you then take a 15-20 minute break. However, please keep in mind that everyoneʼs body is different and therefore, find your ideal rhythm and pattern that best suits your optimal best.
For instance, It may be that three pomodori followed by a 20-minute replenishes your energy and alertness, or that five sessions followed by a 30-minute break works better. Maybe your concentration levels are at a heightened level in the morning, thus that would mean more frequent breaks are needed in the afternoons.
With each pomodoro accomplished, write down your progress with an “X” or a check mark, and review the number of times you had the impulse to procrastinate or moved onto work on another task/project for each 25-minute time interval.
Overall, the pomodoro tool helps minimize distractions, stops multi-tasking and procrastination which would only hinder your focus and productivity, especially when you only have a limited time to complete your task. This is a rest, regroup choice and great for your optimal health.
However, not everyone might be a fan as in times when one's creativity is flowing and you sure do not want to stop. Or, if your workplace is fast paced and you are bombarded with frequent interruptions by co-workers or customers etc.
I encourage you to try it and check out if it works for you!