When it comes to productivity training, I am usually attending the class rather than teaching the class. It’s been said I have something called BSOS – otherwise known as Bright Shiny Object Syndrome. Creative personalities often have trouble staying on task and tend to hop from one project to another; multi-tasking the day away. That happens more days than I’m comfortable admitting to. Since CoVid-19 necessitated so many to work from home, I’ve heard many people comment on the challenge of staying focused.
Over the years, I’ve tried all kinds of hacks to help with this issue. The best thing I tried and recommended is the concept of time blocking – a great principle. However, I was trying to block in two hour segments. I discovered that was too much time.
Francesco Cirillo was dealing with this same challenge as a University student. He lacked focus when it came to studying. He developed a strategy called The Pomodoro Technique. It’s simple to implement and amazingly effective.
There are five steps to the Pomodoro Technique:
- Choose the task
- Set the timer for 25 minutes – Commit to spending 25 minutes on this one task without interrupting yourself.
- Work on this 11 ask until the timer goes off
- Take a short break (5-10 minutes)
- Every four sessions, take a longer break (20-30 minutes)
These short bursts of focus fly by. I tell myself, “you can do almost anything for a short period of time”. I don’t answer the phone, look at texts, or give into the urge to distract myself. I’ve been using this technique for months now and I’m loving it.
You might be wondering why someone named Cirillo called this the Pomodoro technique. Pomodoro is a type of tomato and Cirillo happened to have a timer shaped like a tomato. You can download special apps to help you but I simply use the timer on my phone and that works great.
Cirillo wasn’t the first student to find that not only do short bursts of concentration help with focus, they help you retain information better. Research conducted by Paul Kelley, honorary research associate at Oxford University, found students who take regular breaks from studying tend to learn more. Spaced learning gives the brain time to embed the information using the brain’s own neurons.
We can’t create time. It’s finite, and we never seem to have enough.
By training yourself to work in short sprints rather than committing to a marathon
effort, you are likely to accomplish more.
Works for me!