Haven’t we all had those days when we leave school or the library disappointed (but also surprised) at how we spent so much time working but yet didn’t seem to get anything done?
Managing your time efficiently and effectively is challenging — may I say very challenging!
It’s not like you didn’t want to get things done, it’s just that you got a very imprtant e-mail, your friend called you, something more important came up and — poof! — the time magically disappeared.
If you find yourself in this kind of situation (like I did, and still do from time to time) I think the Pomodoro technique might help you.
First, the Pomodoro technique suggests that you need to have a to-do list for each working day. (Yes, yes quite familiar but keep reading.) I usually try to form a list like this a day or two before implementing the technique, just to make sure I have all the required things for the tasks with me. Prioritize your tasks (and here is when the fun part starts) then take your timer (which for Francesco Cirillo, the inventor of Pomodoro, was a kitchen timer in the shape of a tomato, therefore the name Pomodoro, meaning “tomato” in Italian) and set it to 25 minutes. Now, tackle your to-do list in order of priority.
While you are crushing your to-do list over the next 25 minutes, you are not allowed to interrupt yourself. No important calls, no “Oh, I need to do this” moments — you just keep your focus on the designated task.
Of course, we get interrupting thoughts the whole time, so the Pomodoro technique is smart and tells you to write down your thoughts because some of them might be relevant!
Finally, when your timer rings, you stop, no matter where you are in the task. You take a three-minutes break, re-evaluate your list, and you start again with the next task.
After four rounds of going through the Pomodoro technique you take a 15-minutes long break.
This technique is quite simple, but it requires a lot of discipline. When I read about it the first time I thought, “That’s easy,” until I tried to do a 25-minute task without interruption and realized how difficult that actually is.
Now you must be wondering: What is the magic with the 25 minutes? I did too.
According to Staffan Nöteberg, there is no sientific backed up fact that a 25-minute focused session is the optimum. He claims that everyone has to individually discover what their optimum session is, but he encourages short iterations with the argument that they are more often completed and that it is easier to stay focused all the way through when you have smaller time frames. I suggest you start with the 25 minutes the first two weeks and then do a self-evaluation of what actually works for you.
If this sounds interesting and helpful, give it a go. I want to hear your experiences from it or your opinions or tips so please leave a comment.
What are your tips for tackling daily tasks? Share with us in as a comment!
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