Our ability to waste time can be astonishing.
You flip open your laptop first thing with the full intention of taking care of an important task…
Instead, sixty minutes whizz by as you zone out on social media, check multiple email accounts and aimlessly surf. Distraction reigns.
Our working patterns have changed dramatically compared to those of the previous generation who expected (and often held down) a job for life. It’s also more commonplace to bring work home or to work remotely.
Numerous people now combine multiple income streams and are thus juggling a substantial number of different tasks. These need to be managed effectively. Deadlines must be adhered to.
I teach English online, write lots of web copy in a wide range of niches and offer several gigs on micro-sites. For me, like anyone with an atypical working set-up, time-management is vital. Any habits naturally become more ingrained and tougher to break. Sometimes, though, if you keep banging your head against a brick wall… walk around the wall.
What valid tweaks can you implement to enhance productivity? How can you get more done without overexerting yourself further?
Take Affirmative Action
Make some changes to the way in which you perceive work and subsequently change the manner in which you carry it out.
One simple, immediately actionable option if you tend to procrastinate is to explore the Pomodoro Technique.
The capsule summary of this exotically named methodology is work smarter not harder.
This does not mean eschewing tough graft but simply being more productive in the same amount of time.
The Pomodoro Technique was realized by Francesco Cirillo in the late eighties. It’s a time-management procedure based on breaking down your work into short bouts of 25 minutes hard at it broken up by short breaks.
- Work for 25 minutes
- Take a break for 5 minutes
It really is that simple.
The time limits need not be rigid. It is not always practical or desirable to stick to precisely 25 minutes of work or to have a break as short as 5 minutes.
Also, rest does not need to be complete rest just a break from the activity you are engaged in. Hit the weight bench or the inversion table if you have a home gym. Get some fresh air. Just do something other than the task at hand and you will return invigorated.
The principles are sound and very easy to summarize:
- Avoid working for extended periods
- Take regular breaks
Its basic nature and genuine productivity hiking when properly done means that this approach continues to gain traction.
The Pomodoro Technique has some scientific backing. In 2008, John Caldwell, PhD, analysed pilot fatigue. Brief breaks taken during long flights helped significantly with awareness, alertness and focus. These are all evidently essential qualities for someone flying a plane.
A raft of other studies reveal the benefits of harnessing ultradian Rhythms. We have discrete cycles of peak productivity every day as well as troughs where we experience lowered output.
Research indicates that 90 minutes is pretty much the cut-off point at which a break is truly necessary. After an hour and a half performing any given task unbroken, a longer break of perhaps 20 minutes is ideal.
By making ultradian Rhythms work to our advantage, we can work smarter.
There are many apps such as Team Viz or Focus Booster to assist you with the Pomodoro Technique but you fundamentally do not need an app. Just shoehorn in regular breaks whatever you are doing.
There is absolutely nothing to lose by giving the Pomodoro Technique a crack of the whip. If it doesn’t work then stop using it.
You will be surprised, though, at the likely outcome: you will accomplish more while feeling better into the bargain.
My name is Harry Wilson. I’m the author of www.goodhealthplanning.com. Whether it’s workout routines, diet ideas or a guide to the equipment you need, we’ll help you get in the best shape possible. Follow my twitter: @ghealthplanning