Dec 26 · 6 min read
How to be more productive at work using this simple technique
Do you ever feel like you could do more in the time given?
Write more, finish one more design, or simply complete more tasks from your to-do list.
While it can be a constant struggle to become more and more productive and efficient, it’s also good to be aware of the things you DO cross of your to-do list.
In a world where we are always striving to do things faster and better, it is easy to get caught up in never being satisfied with all the things you do get done.
Our lives getting busier than ever (or so we think), we start to believe in this myth that there isn’t enough time in the week to live a happy, balanced and productive life.
“Don’t be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the year as you make use of. One man gets only a week’s value out of a year while another man gets a full year’s value out of a week.” — Charles Richards
If the previous sentence provoked a sense of “damn that’s me” feeling, we recommend watching this 10-minute TED talk about a few practical strategies to help find more time for what matters to us, so we can “build the lives we want in the time we’ve got.”
More than 7 million views and counting… follow the herd!
Then again, we are humans and we tend to get distracted pretty easily. This trend of open offices and shared workspaces don’t help either.
Here to give you the number one technique to boost productivity in the workplace that has proven itself in our team.
Practice makes perfect.
Repeatedly using the Pomodoro technique and making it a habit leads to a 10x increase in focus. Most people call it a state of flow when they are hyper-focused on just one task. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi wrote a book about how to get in a state of consciousness called flow.
“Explores a happy state of mind called flow, the feeling of complete engagement in a creative or playful activity.” — Time
A good technique to accomplish this is the Pomodoro Technique.
It is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980’s. The technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks.
These intervals are named pomodoros, the Italian word for tomato, after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer Francesco used.
To avoid getting stuff thrown at you by colleagues, we recommend not using a kitchen timer. Instead, use this handy tool. Its called the PomoDoneApp and it syncs with several task management tools like Trello, Asana, Wunderlist, and Evernote.
In case you haven’t noticed, we love books so yes, we ordered the book as well.
The book teaches you to work with time, instead of struggling against it. The technique consists of the following steps and is deceptively simple yet incredibly effective.
- Choose a task you’d like to get done. Prioritization is key here. What’s important is that whatever task you choose, it’s something that deserves your full, undivided attention.
- Set the Pomodoro for 25 minutes. Commit yourself to just 25 minutes of complete focus on that one task.
- Work on the task until the Pomodoro rings. Immerse yourself in the task for the next 25 minutes. Your mind will work against you, suddenly reminding you of all the other things you need to do. Get it out of your head by simply writing it down on paper. Back to your ONE task.
- When the Pomodoro ‘rings’, put a checkmark on a paper. Nice job! You’ve spent 25 minutes of uninterrupted time on a task.
- Take a short break. Breathe, meditate, grab a cup of coffee, go for a short walk or do something else relaxing (i.e., not work-related). Your brain will thank you later.
- Every 4 pomodoros take a longer break. Once you’ve completed four pomodoros, you can take a longer break. 20 minutes is good. Or 30. Your brain will use this time to assimilate new information and rest before the next round of Pomodoros.
It is as simple as that. Using only a pen, some paper, and a kitchen timer.
Once you get the hang of it, you will be able to more accurately estimate how much time you spend on various tasks.
What also helps is cutting down on interruptions. Eliminate your Facebook feed with this handy tool. Instead of this black hole that sucks out all the productive time in your day called a ‘feed’, it shows you an inspiring quote. Nice to impress some colleagues during a coffee break.
If that is not enough you can restrain yourself a bit further using Block Site.You just add the websites you want to block so you can’t access them for a given amount of time.
In today’s fast-paced, time-poor environment it’s normal to want to regain some control over your day and Francesco Cirillo’s time management method is a proven solution. It works for us, we hope it also works for you.