In a world where remote work is becoming more widely accepted, and technology is becoming smarter and more accessible, focus and productivity can be challenging at times. So, what do you do to remain productive at work to ensure your tasks get done timely and deadlines are met? Well, I am glad you asked! I would like to share a technique I picked up in the last year that has made an incredible difference in my day-to-day work and in my education: The Pomodoro Technique.
I found this productivity technique out of desperation one day not long after returning to school. Working fulltime, and often times overtime, keeping up with the house, spending quality time with family, and working toward getting a second degree quickly became overwhelming for me. I found myself becoming easily stressed at work or even after work, with a number of tasks to complete all the time, and while a to-do list helped, it seemed to never end and the stress piled on. When I became stressed, I would give myself a minute to step away, unplug, and be in silence and at peace for a moment before returning to the busy day. I was also finding myself easily distracted working from home, which was only contributing to the problem. After all, the tv and phone are much more enjoyable than that long to-do list. One day I realized all of this adding up was not going to be manageable unless I figured something out quickly. Fortunately, one of the first-time management tools and techniques I found online was the Pomodoro Technique – thanks Google!
The Pomodoro Technique is a technique that encourages you to work in intervals with short break between intense focus sessions. The focus time is typically 20 or 25 minutes, with 5-minute breaks between, and after about 4 intervals, a longer break. I learned that the technique is called Pomodoro because the person who developed it, Francesco Cirillo, “used a tomato-shaped kitchen timer to organize his study schedule.” Pomodoro is the Italian word for Tomato. I thought if this worked for him and many others based on the popularity I see online, why not give this a try myself.
Using this technique requires discipline and practice, but it has made a huge difference in work and education. I will start the timer, and start working away at my to-do list, keeping distractions out of sight and focus on how many tasks I can get done in that interval. Every 25 minutes, I force myself to take a break, get up, move around, get a water or check my phone. This has helped me become more productive, less stressed, and more focused on what needs to get done in the moment. It also helps me break down larger tasks into smaller more manageable incremental tasks. I believe this technique has helped me advance in my career, excel in my schoolwork, and allow more time to be with family and friends.
I hope this post encourages you to give the Pomodoro technique a try in your day-to-day work. If you find yourself in a spot like I find myself in, with too much to do and not enough time in the day, maybe this post will be your solution.