A Proven Productivity Tip for Accomplishing Important Tasks.
You can do anything for 25 minutes, right? Ok, maybe not anything, but for the most part, you can motivate yourself to focus on something for 25 minutes, right? It’s on that basis that we bring you today’s productivity tip.
Are low energy, low motivation and dozens of shinny little distractions keeping you from accomplishing the important tasks you need to do? We have all experienced that, but today we want to tell you about one of the best methods we have discovered to keep motivated and to stay focused on what’s most important.
In 2006, a university student named Francesco Cirillo wrote a book called The Pomodoro Technique, named after the pomodoro tomato. (“Why a tomato?” you might ask. Read the book and find out). Cirillo’s premise was that maximum productivity could be accomplished in increments of 25 minutes at a time, with a brief break in-between each 25 minute period.
The book has been downloaded and purchased over 2 million times and has become a staple in productivity books.
The way it works? Simple . . .
#1. Decide what you are going to focus on.
What important task or project are you going to intentionally work on for the next 25 minutes? Not several tasks — not 2–3 tasks — but the One Thing you are going to work on. What is the biggest thing — the most important thing — you need to accomplish today? Start with that.
#2. Eliminate all Distractions.
For the next 25 minutes, your phone does not exist — get rid of it. For the next 25 minutes social media doesn’t exist. For the next 25 minutes, your friends, your boyfriend / girlfriend, your family, your co workers — they don’t exist. Eliminate anything that could distract you from accomplishing focused work for the next 25 minutes.
#3. Set a timer for 25 minutes.
Now there are a number of simple ways you can do this. Obviously you can simply set a timer on your phone for 25 minutes, or you can download one of several different Pomodoro Timer apps that are available, but my favorite way is a bit more interactive. I use an easy-to-use Pomodoro timer, that was designed specifically for this productivity method. I simply put the timer down and it alerts me in 25 minutes.
#4. Get to work.
This is your chance to hunker down and focus. You can do it — its only 25 minutes — and like we said, you can do anything for 25 minutes. Stay focused — remain undistracted — and complete 25 minutes of consistent work.
#5. Take a break.
After you have completed your 25 minutes of focused work, take a 3–5 minute break. Get up — stretch — get some water — do some jumping jacks — whatever you need to do. The Pomodoro timer I use also has a 5 minute timer so that I can accurately track the length of my breaks. The breaks are critical, so don’t skip them.
Yup, do it all over again. Set your timer for another 25 minutes and get back to focused work on your one thing. And then take another 3–5 minute break. You can continue to repeat this process all day long. In fact, after every 3–4 cycles of this technic, extend one of your breaks to 10 minutes before beginning your next 25 minute work period.
I can personally attest that the Pomodoro Technique works. It provides me with a work rhythm that keeps me motivated and distraction free, and I don’t know about you, but I need that. If you have never tried this method — give it a try.
- Arthur (The Productive Student Academy)