Have you had one of those days where you feel you will never get all your tasks done? Are you attending too many meetings at work? Do you get easily distracted by social media notifications? Very few of us can actually fight the temptation of watching the comedian on TikTok or the latest stunt on Reels.
My guilty pleasure – watching cooking videos.
As per a study – 75% of Americans agree notifications kill focus in the workplace, and most blame social media (Branded Research, 2018).
What are the other things that generally distract people at work? As per a CareerBuilder survey, the following are the most common distractions at work:
Do you want to know how to fight these distractions and ensure you complete your to-do list at the end of the day?
One popular method is the Pomodoro Technique. Personally, it has helped me quite well in concentrating and completing my tasks, as long as the list is reasonably lengthy. Let me explain the Pomodoro Technique and how you can use it.
The Pomodoro Technique
- A time management method invented by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s.
- Inspired by the tomato-shaped timers used in the kitchens, he called it the Pomodoro Technique.
- Uses small intervals of time, called ‘pomodoros’.
- Pomodoros are set to a duration of 25 minutes to complete a task, followed by a break of 5 minutes.
- Increments of multiple pomodoros are used to complete a task of a longer duration.
How do you use the Pomodoro timer to complete your tasks
The Pomodoro technique essentially requires you to do the following:
Create a to-do list or a tracker
Identify and prepare a list of tasks in the order of priority. This helps you with not only decluttering your desk but also decluttering your mind. It enables you to set the day’s objectives and work towards a future goalpost. You can use a Pomodoro checklist sheet displayed above.
Use the checklist to identity and prioritize the day’s task. You can also add notes like the hurdles you have faced or interruptions that disturbed you or even tasks that were not completed because they had dependencies on other people. A check list helps you plan your day better.
Use the Pomodoro timer to complete your tasks
The technique uses a set of four pomodoros plus a long break of 20 minutes.
Note: If you need more time for a task, reset the timer and continue. If you finish the task you have started, pick the next on your list and begin with Step 2.
Here are other suggestions by Cirillo.
- If you finish a task before the timer rings, use the rest of the time to:
- Review the work you have done against its objective.
- Note your progress.
- Review and prepare for upcoming tasks.
- If you are interrupted:
- Give priority to the task on hand and complete it.
- Postpone or reschedule the task you were interrupted for.
- Tell the person who interrupts you that you will speak to them after you complete your task.
- If you are interrupted because something needs your urgent attention, stop the Pomodoro timer and begin when you start working on the task again.
Benefits of Using the Pomodoro technique
This technique helps you become efficient and increase your productivity. It helps you with the following:
- Identify and prioritize your tasks.
- Focus on the task at hand.
- Complete your tasks.
- Reduce interruptions.
- Manage your time better.
- Improve the quality of your work.
- Achieve your goals.
By the way, do not assume the technique can be applied only at work. It is greatly beneficial to students, homemakers, business people, and professionals.
‘In truth, whatever is worth doing at all, is worth doing well; and nothing can be done well without attention.’ The 4th Earl of Chesterfield wrote the above in a letter to his son, Philip Stanhope, in 1746.
Install a Pomodoro timer on your system or on your phone. You don’t have to buy a manual one. There are plenty of digital Pomodoro timers available for Android and iOS users for free.
Try out the Pomodoro technique today and see the difference it will make to your efficiency and productivity!