In my study of time management I’ve come across several recommendations for working in blocks of time from 30 to 90 minutes. I’ve tried it and had success, but it wasn’t until I heard about the Pomodoro technique that I really found my focus.
Pomodoro is the word for tomato in Italian. The Pomodoro Technique was named by an Italian grad student who used his kitchen timer, that was in the shape of a tomato, to study in focused 25 minute bursts with 5 minute breaks in-between.
There are several apps and websites that will allow you to upgrade this technique. You can also use the timer feature on your smart phone. I prefer this website www.tomato-timer.com.
The key is to make sure that you eliminate all distractions during these 25 minute focus sessions and tackle only one of your most important or most meaningful task at a time. Multi-tasking actually slows your brain down, so be sure to turn off email and your cell phone while you focus on just one thing. Limit your Pomodoro rounds to three and then take a 15 to 20 minute break before focusing again.
If you need help deciding what’s the most important thing to focus on for one of these 25 minute bursts of productivity, I suggest Asana. No, this isn’t the asana that I mention in yoga class all the time. The free Asana program allows you to manage projects with multiple people, as well as prioritize your own personal tasks by date. I also recommend that you keep your must do list to a maximum of three items per day. If you accomplish those three, then feel free to move on down your list.