Productivity is one of the most sought after virtues. It’s on everybody’s mind. We all want it, we all seem to know how to achieve it, but it’s so hard to consistently nail down. When we do, though, it’s one of the best feelings out there. When you live in a deadline-driven world and have a job that requires you to produce, productivity is your best friend.
Procrastination is one of the most annoying nemesis out there. It’s sneaky and can easily get in the way of your day-to-day tasks. Procrastination can quickly build up, and it’s one of the most common ways to destroy your productivity.
We are all aware of the battle between productivity and procrastination.
It’s not always a pretty one but at the end of the day, the most successful people out there know how to always quiet down the nagging effects of procrastination through the impacts of properly managed productivity.
At the end of the day, though, to be productive, you have to follow a routine that structures your work in a balanced way.
Balance is crucial to maintain optimal focus, keep you fresh and motivated, and prevent any serious bouts of procrastination.
If you know that a balanced approach to time management will benefit your productivity, say hello to the Pomodoro Technique.
The Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique is a cyclical timing approach to getting your work done aimed at meeting deadlines in a controlled, stress-free way.
This method was invented in the early 1990s by a developer and author named Francesco Cirillo.
He came up with a simple system to efficiently tackle large tasks or projects based on using a timer to track and plan the work that needs to get done. Cirillo used a tomato-shaped manual timer (that’s where the name “Pomodoro” comes from) to structure windows of time for work vs. windows of time for rest, and, as a result, saw his productivity peak.
The Pomodoro Technique is that simple and that effective: Anytime you have a big project you break down the work into short, timed intervals (“Pomodoros”) spaced out by small breaks.
This approach allows your brain to stay sharply focused for short periods, which helps you get things done faster, and meet deadlines with quality, consistent work.
Here’s how it works:
- Break down tasks that need to get completed.
- Set the timer to 25 minutes.
- Work on one task until the timer rings, and then put a check on your sheet of paper.
- Take a short 5-minute break.
- Every 4 Pomodoros (25 minute work periods) take a longer break.
Since the technique is a cyclical system, it assures you are consistently productive by giving you well-timed breaks to recharge your energy and motivation. It’s like a battery that recharges itself to always perform at peak productivity levels.
Optimize Your Flow
One of the beauties of the Pomodoro Technique is that it throws you into a rhythmic wave of work vs. rest.
Productivity is often approached as getting the most work done in the least amount of time. In reality, though, productivity is finding a stable rhythm that allows you to consistently produce quality work for the longest amount of time possible.
The key to productivity is finding that optimal rhythm for producing quality work. That’s what the Pomodoro Technique does.
This technique creates a flow that takes advantage of your brain’s peak focus levels. This methodology gets your brain intensely focus on just one task, with zero distractions.
If a co-worker reaches out, it’s okay to let them know you’ll be available in 10 minutes — wait until your Pomodoro rings to change tasks.
Before you know it, the timer will ring and your brain immediately enters a period of rest. Sooner than later, you’ll be back at your desk focused on the next task.
The short bursts, or sprints, keep you in a quick rhythm that doesn’t allow you to be distracted by other things. At the same time, the breaks are timed out at just the right moments so you don’t get burnt out, or bored.
It’s a quick back and forth between work and rest that creates an ideal rhythm which allows for sharp focus. That’s the key.
If, instead, you take on an approach of long marathon work periods with long periods of rest you’ll likely find that rhythm is too broken up. If you work for 3 hours straight on one project and then take an hour-long break, you’ll find the rhythm is too slow and makes you susceptible to distractions.
That’s the beauty of the Pomodoro Technique.
It optimizes the flow of work vs. rest. It creates an optimized balance between focus and recharging that keeps you in a steady forward-driving rhythm. You’ll quickly feel the impact of this balanced but steady rhythm, and optimize your productivity in a way that will have you crush deadlines in a controlled, stress-free way.