Everyone is concerned with productivity, whether you work from home, in an office, or elsewhere. It doesn’t matter how much time you spend on something – what matters is how much you can get done.
With distractions all around us, it’s easy to get side-tracked and procrastinate. There are methods to be more productive with your time. One is called the Pomodoro technique.
The Pomodoro Technique
Francisco Cirillo developed the Pomodoro technique in the 1980s as a means to increase productivity and decrease procrastination. This technique is meant to be used in conjunction with the work habits and routines discussed below.
What is a Pomodoro?
Pomodoro is Italian for “tomato.” As you can imagine, the tomato-shaped kitchen timers inspired Francisco when naming his technique.
How Does The Pomodoro Technique Work?
The Pomodoro technique suggests 25-minute blocks of focused work. In those minutes, you should focus, complete a task, and then take a break before moving on to the next one. This method helps you structure your day so you have periods of productivity and rest.
6 Steps of the Pomodoro Technique
Let’s break it down:
- Select the tasks you need to accomplish
- Set your timer (traditionally to 25 minutes)
- Work for 25 minutes
- When the timer goes off, check the task off your list
- Take a 5-minute break
- After four Pomodoros, you’ve completed a “set” (or 2 hours of work and rest), so take an extended break (15–30 minutes), reset your checkmark count to zero, then go to step 1
Each checkmark is a milestone that shows you have completed 25 uninterrupted minutes of work. Of course, if you don’t complete a task in 25 minutes, that’s ok. The idea is to check off that you’ve worked for 25 minutes straight. So take a short break and then dive back in. You can pick up where you left off or start the next item on your list.
This technique is a way to hold yourself accountable because if you get distracted and don’t work for 25 straight minutes, you don’t earn a check mark.
Over time, you can track how focused you are, what works for you, which distractions impact your time, and so forth.
Variations to The Pomodoro Method
It’s impractical to assume everyone can sit for 2 hours straight each day and complete a “set” of Pomodoros. So, you can adjust this method to your needs.
You can increase the time of your Pomodoros or consider using the technique at regular intervals during a typical work day. For instance, if you have a full day planned with meetings, focus on the time between meetings as your Pomodoro work sessions and finish your tasks.
Pros of the Pomodoro Technique
One big advantage to this method is that it helps streamline your work and minimize interruptions when trying to get things done. It also opens an avenue for tracking your progress so you can objectively review what distracts you the most, what time of day you are most productive, and which tasks require the most time and energy.
Based on what you learn about yourself, you can adjust your workload and take steps to minimize inefficiency, all of which lead to higher productivity!
Cons of the Pomodoro Technique
On the other hand, as mentioned earlier, incorporating this time management system into your schedule may not be straightforward. Depending on your job or the task on your to-do list, a traditional Pomodoro time window may not be enough, and a longer Pomodoro may be too long to put off distractions.
Tips For Increasing Productivity
It doesn’t matter which time management method you use; there are some things you should always consider when setting your schedule for the day.
Set Daily Goals
Identify what needs to get done on your to-do list and in what time frame. In addition, consider your goals for the day, week, month, or quarter. Having a clear view of what you need to do, or aim to do, increases the likelihood that you will accomplish what you need.
To keep track of your lists, use Google calendars, checklists, planner apps, and the like to get it all down. Whatever tool helps you remember, use it!
Establish A Work Routine
Set a morning routine to help you get started on the right foot. Wake up at the same time every day, eat, exercise, journal, etc. Doing this will help you get in work mode, help motivate you and increase the odds of getting more done.
Consistency in your routine will help you establish a habit of productivity at work and allow you to relax at home.
Schedule a specific time to check emails
Create a routine for the workday as well. Check your inbox at the same time each day, have dedicated time during the day to take breaks, catch up on phone calls and eat.
Figure out the best schedule that works for you and stick to it.
Choose The Best Work Space
Everyone has different requirements for their workspace to help them focus. Figure out what yours is, and then find a work area that meets those requirements.
For example, consider not watching TV in bed. The bedroom should be dedicated to sleep. Removing distractions from the bedroom trains your body to be triggered to sleep and rest by the environment. The same holds for productivity.
Take Time To Get Organized
An essential step to any productive day is getting everything you need in place. Have a bunch of paperwork to sign? Gather them all up before you sit down with your pen and get organized.
Review your schedule. Have a bunch of phone calls scheduled? Figure out how to use your time between calls.
Have any deadlines coming up? Work on those time-sensitives items first. The rest follows from there.
Group Similar Tasks
Grouping similar tasks is a great way to boost efficiency and accomplish several things simultaneously. Related or intertwined tasks should be done together or in succession.
For example, if you’re writing a research paper, don’t do the research in the morning and then the write-up in the evening; combine the two. As you find relevant articles for your research, try to immediately jot down a synopsis of the information you think is relevant.
Your productivity will go out the window if you’re sleepy, cranky, or unwell. Your focus will be off, motivation will take a nose dive, and it will be a struggle to get through the day.
A regular good night’s sleep improves your mood, sharpens your focus, and increases your productivity! Prioritize your time at home for rest, relaxation, and stress relief. Use whichever methods suit you and your lifestyle.
Why Does Productivity Matter?
Productivity is used as a metric in every industry. It can influence how much money you make or how greater impact your work has. Knowing how to increase productivity can make a big difference in career growth, personal growth, and more.
How you define productivity is also essential. It’s not about being busy; it’s about how you use your time and what you accomplish. Spending time on tasks that have value or don’t add to our day creates a feeling of exhaustion and contributes to burnout.
There is a phrase, “work smarter, not harder.” The Pomodoro technique aims to do just that.
Elevating your productivity skills leaves you feeling more accomplished and frees up your time for the things that truly matter.
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to getting work done and checking off our to-do list. Nor do you need to have a tomato timer in order to increase productivity and efficiency. The Pomodoro technique is meant to provide another method to try and make the most of your time, increase focus, and get things accomplished. Try it and see if it works for you!
The article originally appeared on My Work From Home Money.