‘If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done’ – Bruce Lee
I have always considered myself to be quite a good multitasker and will generally stay on task until I get done what I need to. Well that went out the window when I enrolled back to study and was made redundant from my job. I now spend a lot of time at home and in between being a mum, housework and study, I find myself getting distracted A LOT! I am on quite a strict schedule to complete my studies so getting distracted is not an option and in my desperation I started googling some productivity tips.
The first thing I learnt is that multitasking is actually impossible (phew) and it can lead to as much as a 40% drop in productivity, increased stress, and a 10% drop in IQ (Bergman, 2010). I then found some Research published in the prestigious scientific journal “Cognition” that has shown that short breaks and diversions can cause a significant improvement in one’s ability to keep focused on a task for long periods of time (there’s hope!). So, from that and some other research I did I concluded that if I want to achieve more, I need to do less (easy!)
Now I know what you’re thinking because I thought the exact same thing “this sounds too good to be true!” Well, we’re both wrong!
While doing this research there was one technique that constantly kept popping up and it’s called the “Pomodoro Technique” which was developed by Francesco Cirillo. The Pomodoro technique is basically a tool to productively manage your time. The main principle behind the technique is to work in blocks of time, typically 25 minutes long (called Pomodoro sessions), followed by a 5-minute break. Each Pomodoro session should demand your full attention on one task and every break requires you to step away from your work to rest which helps you to stay fresh and focused throughout your day.
Here is a basic “HOW TO” to get you started
You set a timer (I use an APP on my phone, but any timer will do) for 25 minutes.
While the timer is running, you let nothing interfere with your task. I put my phone into “do not disturb” and close all the tabs I don’t need on my computer to avoid distraction. If something pops into my head that I need to do, I simply write it down for later.
When your alarm goes off, you stop what you are doing immediately and take a break for about 5 minutes. (Make a cup of tea, stretch, check any notifications)
You set the timer for another 25 minutes and start again. Every four Pomodoros you take a longer break of 15 to 30 minutes (I take 30 mins)
After trialling the Pomodoro technique for the past week I’m officially it’s biggest advocate! The thought of only doing something for 25 minutes makes even the biggest of tasks feel so achievable and by the time you have done a couple of Pomodoro blocks that big task is complete. At the end of the day I feel less anxious and more in control of my day.
I made this PDF worksheet to not only keep me accountable but so I also get the physical gratification of ticking off each accomplishment. (I think its important to note that we are all different and some of us may be able to focus for longer periods of time before having a break. To cater for this I added in a sentence where you can fill in the gaps to suit you.)
I would love to hear if you have used this technique before? This has honestly been life changing for me and I definitely recommend you give it a go!!
Thanks for reading and make sure you share your smile with the world today ☮