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Productivity guaranteed (?)

I read an article last week on Medium about the Pomodoro Technique. It was an okay-ish article, but I loved the technique it explained, because I think it could actually help me become significantly more productive. Of course, on searching for Pomodoro on Medium, I see there are about 100 articles about it. So let me distill it for you…

Essentially, it’s a cure for procrastination. You’re supposed to set a timer – egg timer, phone timer, clock timer, whatever you like – for 25 minutes and focus only on one task for those 25 minutes. Then you have a 5 minute break. That’s it.

Doesn’t sound particularly groundbreaking, does it? Except when you think of how difficult it is these days to ignore the rest of the world – emails, social media, colleagues, the lure of timewastery in all its many delicious guises – and just focus. I have a mountain of work to get through on Monday and Tuesday next week, and I am pretty sure thinking about the amount alone could waste a solid hour while I fritter away the minutes. So I’m going to test this.

No distractions. No rewards. Just working on one task, for 25 minutes. Then a 5 minute break for a cuppa or to look out the window, or look at my messages or read a few emails. Then another 25 minutes. Apparently if you get two done in a day you’re doing well, because these chunks are surprisingly difficult to carve out. I will report back!

Update: It works! It works beautifully. So beautifully that I was kicking myself for not having done something this simple and effective before… Until I realised (round about my 4th Pomodoro) how difficult it is to work for extended periods of time with that kind of focus. So I think it works really well for a morning of concentrated work, but I can’t just do one after another after another or my brain gets sore. Also: the timer is surprisingly integral. Seeing the minutes ticking away created a lovely (false) sense of urgency that kept me extra focused.

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