Double Your Productivity In Half The Time
Do you sit at your desk for hours?
…only to get nothing done?
Do you struggle with concentration?
Do you always cancel plans to catch up on work?
Are you always feeling rushed?
If you answered “yes” to any of the questions above, you’re not alone.
I’ve experienced all of these things. When I was supposed to be writing, I would catch myself playing on my phone or internet surfing. I had a ton of work to do but yet I fell prey to my distractions… over and over again.
I didn’t know where my time was going.
But I knew that I had to make a change.
I tried a bunch of time management techniques. Some of them worked initially but I constantly caught myself getting distracted. It didn’t take long for me to fall back into my old habits. And maybe you’re here today because you feel the same way.
You want to end the never-ending cycle of procrastination.
You want to end your day feeling accomplished and proud of your work.
What you need isn’t more time.
And it definitely isn’t more motivation either.
You just need to make a small change to how you work.
You can do this with an incredibly simple technique. So simple that anyone can use it at any stage in their life.
It’s called the Pomodoro Technique. So what exactly is this?
Let me explain.
What Is the Pomodoro Technique?
The technique is very simple.
First, you pick a task you’d like to work on. You then set a timer for 10–25 minutes.
Once the timer starts, you work on one task until the timer goes off. And when the timer rings, you take short breaks in-between. You rinse and repeat until your task is complete or until you run out of time to work.
Why is this called the Pomodoro?
The Pomodoro was first developed by an Italian Business Consultant named Francesco Cirillo.
He used a tomato-shaped kitchen timer to track his work as a university student. He coined the term “Pomodoro” based on the Italian word for tomato.
He created this as a way to keep track of the time spent on his school work. But what he discovered was incredible. He often found himself studying fewer hours than his friends but getting much more done.
What Are The Benefits of The Pomodoro?
Before we dive into how to apply this technique, let’s take a look at the benefits. So here are a few life-changing benefits that this productivity technique has to offer.
When we work under limited time, we tend to increase the intensity and focus of our work. Because when we think we have all day, we procrastinate and allow ourselves to be distracted.
But with the Pomodoro Technique, instead of dividing your attention, you devote all your energy to completing a single task.
This method raises the level of concentration during your work and improves your attention span. It also decreases overwhelm because you’re tackling one task at a time. Instead of filling your mind with worries about what you have to do, you devote all your energy to doing one thing.
Just imagine how powerful you’ll feel by not having to worry about anything else but your work. No more anxious thoughts. It’s just you living out your purpose.
Improved Quality of Your Work
When you focus on one task, you give it the attention it needs to turn it into high-quality work. Whether you’re solving math problems or trying to write a blog, higher levels of concentration will increase the quality of your work.
You’ll achieve deeper levels of thinking that you wouldn’t normally reach when you multitask. When your attention is divided, you become scatter-brained and you can’t be effective. But with the Pomodoro, you tap into new levels of brainpower that can only be achieved through singular focus.
Imagine the feeling of being proud of your work. You’ll feel accomplished throughout your day. Whether you’re spending time with friends or watching your favorite show, everything will feel much more rewarding. There’s no better feeling than enjoying the fruits of your labor.
Get More Done With Less Time
When you sit down and focus on your task, you guarantee that all of the minutes you spend goes towards your work. But if you multitask and distract yourself, you won’t even know how to track the time you spent working.
You could sit at your desk for hours only to find yourself accomplishing nothing. But when you use the Pomodoro, you’ll log every minute that you put into your work.
Most likely you’ll finish your tasks in record time. You’ll surprise yourself with how much time left for the rest of your day. On the contrary, if you mix distractions with work, you’ll have no time for work or play.
No more wasting hours on a task that takes you less than 30 minutes. Plain and simple. By eliminating wasted time in your life, you’ll enhance the quality of time spent in all aspects of your life.
By taking short breaks between each Pomodoro session, you’ll prevent yourself from burning out. Maybe you’re one of those few rare people who can work without taking a break. Or maybe you’re not taking breaks out of fear that you’re losing precious productive hours.
But here’s the catch — your levels of concentration will decrease the longer you work without breaks.
So how do you keep your concentration high? By taking short breaks.
This might seem counterproductive at first. You might feel like you’re killing your momentum during your short breaks. But humans can retain their peak level of attention span for about 25 minutes according to research. After you start getting bored from your task, you replenish your concentration with a short 5-minute break.
Think of fatigue or burnout from work as something that accumulates the longer you work without breaks.
You build fatigue faster when you don’t re-energize your brain with a break. And by the time you take a break when you feel exhausted, it’ll take much longer to get yourself back to the same level of alertness.
In most cases, you won’t recover to similar levels until the next day after a good night’s sleep.
Waiting until you feel like you need a break will lead to burnout. Taking breaks when you don’t feel tired will keep your mind refreshed. You’ll log in more quality, concentrated hours to your work without burning out. You can repeat this cycle for long stretches of time.
When you experience this firsthand, it’ll feel as if you took a magic pill. You’ll find yourself amazed at how energized you feel even after working long hours. I’ve often caught myself working eight or more hours without feeling tired.
Before I used this technique, I would feel absolutely exhausted after my fifth hour of work. I knew that something was off when I didn’t have the energy even for activities I enjoyed. But ever since I implemented the Pomodoro, I’ve always had an overflow of energy even after a full day of work.
How It Works
So how does this technique work?
- Work in intense sprints of 10–25 minutes
- Take 5 minute breaks in-between
- Take longer, 15–30 minute breaks every 4 sprints (“Pomodoros”)
Simple right? But there’s some strategic thinking you need to make the best out of this technique.
How to Get The Most Out of Pomodoro
For the Pomodoro Technique to be truly effective in your life, there are a few tweaks you should make. For starters, set aside some quality time to concentrate on your work. You just need to find a time and a place without distractions.
1. Start Early and Work Consistently
If you’re working on a big project, I strongly recommend getting to work as soon as it is assigned. The Pomodoro loses its magic when you try to procrastinate. It’s a technique built on setting aside a little time every day to produce high-quality work. And it’s designed for you to work without the stress of barely meeting your deadline.
Making a little progress every day might not seem like much, but trust the process. Give it enough time and your small tasks will add up to a completed project. And best of all, you’ll have more time for activities you enjoy.
Instead of falling behind, you’ll always be ahead of schedule.
You’ll get the most out of the Pomodoro the earlier you start it during the day. This technique works extremely well when you can leverage your willpower.
But here’s the catch, your willpower decreases throughout your day. So the later you start on your tasks, the less energy and willpower you’ll have to complete them.
Starting early will give you the energy you need to work in short sprints. And when you have more willpower, you’ll recover faster from your breaks. Just think of how much peace you’ll have without having to worry about your deadlines.
2. Set Aside 2–4 Hours of Uninterrupted Time
Depending on the size of your task, you’ll most likely want to set aside some quality time. Ideally, you’ll want to pick a time that’s earlier during the day and when no one can distract you. I personally love early mornings when everyone else is asleep.
I set aside at least 2 hours of quality time to myself for my writing. But if you don’t have two hours, don’t let that stop you. Even an hour of your time with this technique will give you incredible results.
If you struggle to get up early in the morning like I used to, I wrote an article to help you. It’s called The Power of Mornings. This article will help you become a morning person and leverage the benefits of waking up early to get a jumpstart on your day.
It’s a simple idea. When you get the most important things done as early and as quickly as possible, it makes the rest of your day easier.
3. Get Rid of All Distractions
Make sure your distractions are put away before you start your timer. This means no phones, no TV, and I recommend listening to music without words. You should only have what you need to get your work done.
When I write any project, it’s just me and my laptop screen. I have my iPhone on Do Not Disturb and I tuck it away in a drawer out of sight. Once I start my timer, I type as much as I can before the alarm goes off.
I don’t know what your distractions are, but I’m sure you’re well aware of your temptations. The main idea is to make staying focused as easy as possible. Make the decision to get rid of all things that make it harder for you to stay focused. So that when you hit your timer, you’ll be ready to get productive.
4. Begin With the Hardest Task
Always start on your hardest task. Why? Well, it’s the same reason for starting as early as possible.
Beginning with the most difficult task will allow you to leverage your peak willpower. When you give your willpower away to second-rate causes, you won’t be able to bring the quality you want for your top-tier projects.
Your work deserves your best. And you give it your best by doing it first thing in the morning.
5. Batch Small, Tedious Tasks Together
After you’ve done all your important work, it’s time to do all your tedious, annoying tasks. Whether it’s doing the laundry, vacuuming the house, or answering emails… you want to group them together.
You’ll still be doing one task at a time, but these tasks will most likely take less than 25 minutes. So you complete one task and move onto the next if you finish before your timer runs out.
This will help you do tedious work you would normally put off. Using the Pomodoro Technique has helped me keep my room clean and organized. And because I set a timer for myself, I don’t spend more time than I need doing house chores.
It’s a simple strategy right? Now let’s take a look at some tools to make it even easier for you to get started.
Helpful Resources to Get You Started
If you’re like me and don’t like using paper and pen, I’ve got the perfect App for you. I use an app called the Focus To-Do App.
What I like about this App is that you can organize your work by projects.
As you can see here, I labeled this project “Double Your Productivity in Half the Time.” And under the project, I added all the tasks I need for completion. And once you complete a task, the app automatically crosses them off.
I love looking at my list of completed tasks because it gives me a sense of accomplishment.
When you’re ready to start working, you just press the “play” button to start your timer. You can set it so that the timer for your 5-minute breaks goes off automatically.
Since the app was designed to implement the Pomodoro, it’ll automatically set the timer for your longer 30-minute breaks after 4 sessions.
I currently use this app on my laptop, but you can download it on any platform. It works just as well on a phone or tablet. I prefer using it on my computer because it prevents me from using my phone during my work.
- The Pomodoro Technique: The Acclaimed Time-Management System That Has Transformed How We Work by Francesco Cirillo
For those of you who desire a deeper knowledge about the Pomodoro Technique, my best advice would be to learn it from the man who created it.
Francesco Cirillo goes deep into the subject of the way we perceive time, and how it changes the way we live and work. A fascinating read for anyone looking to save time and increase productivity.
- The Power of Mornings by Sonny Kang
Last but not least.
A short piece that takes only 8 minutes to read, written by none other than… me!
I struggled all my life with waking up early in the morning. But learning a few insights helped me become a morning person.
In fact, I wrote this piece at 5 AM. And trust me, if I can become a morning person, so can you. If you feel doubtful, just give it a short read. You’ll find yourself waking up early in no time.
Experience Freedom In Your Life
Now that you’ve learned a powerful time management technique today what projects will you finish? Whatever your goals are, I’m fully confident that you’ll experience breakthroughs starting today.
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and get things done, one Pomodoro at a time.
- Wilson, Karen; Korn, James H. (5 June 2007). “Attention During Lectures: Beyond Ten Minutes”. Teaching of Psychology. 34 (2): 85–89. doi:10.1080/00986280701291291. S2CID 42876908.
- The Science Behind the Pomodoro Technique And How It Helps Supercharge Your Productivity by Masooma Memon
- Why Your Brain Needs More Downtime by Ferris Jabr