From time to time we all get to the point when we spend too much time on working but our productivity is not as effective as it could be. We are tired, we are not fully happy with the effects of our job; there’s no time left for family and ourselves. Often times we don’t know how another day has passed with us doing ‘nothing’ and being extremely tired at the same time. Setting goals and planning are essential to organizing your work, but on a day to day basis you also need to make sure you manage your time effectively. Pomodoro technique can be a good start.
What is Pomodoro Technique?
It’s a time management method that helps you to manage your time when working. The technique is very easy to implement in your life and you can start using it straight away.
#pomodoro is a #timemanagement method that helps to manage #time when #working on your #winebusiness Click To Tweet
Is it effective?
Pomodoro technique is VERY effective. First of all, it helps you to focus on one task and eliminate the distractions. Secondly, it is almost impossible to over work, because regular breaks help you to change the focus and relax. Thirdly, you are able to have a better balance in your business life, as you will be able to manage your time better and do more within one day with having small breaks, than working constantly for many hours.
What do you need to start using the method?
Prepare a simple to-do-list for the projects or outcomes that you have planned for today. It can be a paper list or list of tasks in your phone app. Make sure the list corresponds with your monthly or weekly goals and that you have all that you need to complete it. Moreover, verify your list to ensure it contains S.M.A.R.T. tasks, not big projects. Lastly, sort it according to priorities, starting with those ones that need to be done before others.
For example, if you write a new post, perhaps you will need some more specific information so make sure you have access to the source of that information. If you write a tasting note you will need a bottle of wine and perhaps some product details from producer’s website. Creating an educational presentation about wine requires having proper information regarding the subject, pictures or diagrams and the program to put it all together.
The last thing you need in Pomodoro Technique is a timer. It may be the kitchen timer or the timer in your phone or any other device that will make a sound after a certain amount of time that you spend on working on your projects.
Related post: How to set up goals successfully
How does it work?
Firstly, choose one task from your list. If you have prioritized your list when creating it, take the first one from the list. If you haven’t, choose the task that is the most important or needs to be done before others.
Secondly, set the timer for 25 minutes; this is how long one Pomodoro lasts.
For next 25 minutes focus fully on that task. Don’t let yourself be disturbed by your phone, social media or any other tasks. If anything else pops up in your mind and it is so important that you feel like you need to do it now, write it down on a piece of paper and leave it for later. Make sure, you have an undivided attention on your task for the entire 25 minutes.
When the first task from your list is finished, mark the task as ‘done’ and feel good that you’ve just spend the entire 25 minutes working on it.
After one Pomodoro you have a 5-minute break. Use it to stretch your body, grab a cup of coffee or walk around.
Once you’ve completed the set of four Pomodoros, you deserve a longer break (20-30 minutes).
What can you do during the breaks?
Often times it is the most difficult part of the technique, as people often want ‘just finish that sentence / paragraph / chapter’ etc. The thing is to stop working the same moment you hear the alarm going on. Have a break. Let your brain focus on something else, stimulate your ‘problem-solving creativity’ and make sure you change the position of your body.
Below I’d like to share some ideas on what to do during the breaks. Some of the ideas might apply for those of you, who have the home office.
Here’re some ideas on what you can do during 5-minute breaks:
- Walk around the office
- Go up and down the stairs
- Do some simple physical exercises to get your blood moving
- Massage your arms or neck to relax the muscles
- Do some eye exercises or go outside and look on green plants
- Make yourself a cup of coffee or tea
- Go to the toilet or bathroom
- Make a phone call
- Clean up your desk area or organize the documents
- Put the washing on
- Wash the dishes or empty the dishwasher
- Feed the cat or dog
- Take the bins out
- Water the flowers
- Put the wine in the fridge for the evening ;)
Here’re some ideas on what you can do during 20-30-minute breaks:
- Go for a walk outside the office, if possible
- Do some physical exercises
- Do the massage or yoga or breathing exercises
- Go to post office or do the fast shopping
- Have a lunch or a snack
- Have a power nap
- Iron the clothes
- Hoover the floor
- Set the table for dinner or prepare dinner
How do I use Pomodoro Technique?
Most of the time, I use this method for my wine writing work, when sitting in front of the computer. I do not use it for other types of jobs, such as working with customers, having wine tastings or wine tours, etc.
It is easier for me to manage my time and after a day of working this way I feel like I’ve done my job. Also, the breaks help me to take care of my body and relax my mind; therefore after even 9-10 hours of working, I do not feel exhausted.
Furthermore, I work from home. I turned one of the rooms into an office and I use it only for work purposes. This helps me to focus on my tasks and I am not distracted by the view of the rooms, as there is always something to do in the house. At the same time, I manage not only to work during those working hours, but also I take care of the house; breaks are perfect to do so!
Often, when working on the task, other ideas pop in my head. It is normal. I used to stop my task and switch to the new idea and at the end of the day I felt like I’ve done nothing because I haven’t completed any of the tasks. After some practice with Pomodoro Technique, I’ve found a way to eliminate those distractions and keeping my focus on the task. I simply have a small sticky note next to me and if something else pops up during my Pomodoro, I write it down and check it out during the break or after I finish all of my tasks. It makes a difference.
Find a way to eliminate distractions and keep the focus on the task. #winebusiness #pomodoro Click To Tweet
Managing my breaks
During short breaks, I often do small things and not complicated everyday home tasks, such as making a coffee, washing the cup after having a coffee, putting the washing on, watering the flowers, emptying the dishwasher, etc.
I also do physical exercises: 5 minutes is enough for 10 push-ups, 10 bench dips, 20 kettlebell swings and 10 dumbbell squats. Neck stretching and doing some moves with shoulders and wrists is also on my daily routine during the Pomodoro breaks, along with simple neck or shoulder massage and body stretching.
I am lucky to live in the countryside, so often during short breaks I go to the garden and relax my eyes when admiring the vineyards. Besides, the green colour is good for your eyes because it relaxes them and looking for a couple of minutes on the green grass in the garden helps me to get rid of the tension in my eyes after looking at the computer screen for so long. If you don’t have the garden, find a place on your desk for a small green plant as look at it as often as possible ;)
I reserve my longer breaks for preparing the lunch or dinner, ironing, hoovering, or, sometimes, having a 20-minute power nap. Also, I try to mix the tasks so I do not sit in front of the computer the whole day.
A few more tips to sum up
- Before starting your work spend a few minutes reviewing your list with tasks. How many Pomodoros do you need to complete each of them? Make sure you can fill in your 8-hours work day with a proper amount of tasks to do. Do not overwhelm yourself with tasks which you won’t be able to do that day. It will only increase the stress level and you won’t feel satisfied.
- If your task is easy to do and takes less than one Pomodoro, combine a few smaller tasks together and fill them into one Pomodoro. Similarly: if your task is longer than one Pomodoro , divide it into smaller parts and do each part separately.
- Use this technique when working; do not use it during your spare time. Your free time is reserved for you and your family, so enjoy it fully ;)
- Remember to reserve some time (for example 20% ) for unexpected meetings, situations or tasks that will have the priority before others. In real life, it happens no matter whether you work for yourself or for someone else. Reserving 20% of your time helps you to manage your time and work better. And you stress less!
- If you cannot live without your social media, have full email inbox all the time or need to text your friends, use one Pomodoro for it during the day. Set up 25 minutes for social media, emailing and phoning people, and after those 25 minutes come back to your tasks.
- If you work from home, it may be a good idea to prepare a ‘to-do-at-home-list’ as you may complete some of your home tasks during the breaks.
- Pomodoro users suggest setting the timer in a way that you see how much time you’re left with until the Pomodoro finishes. Personally, I do not control it, as it only stresses me out and I can’t focus on the task. Try the method with and without the timer being in front of your eyes, and choose what works best for you.
Modify the Pomodoro technique if needed. In some cases, 25 minutes may not be enough. Extend the Pomodoro to 30 or 40 minutes, and then have a 5-10 minute break after each task. Focus on the task to the best of your abilities and be as productive as possible.
Eliminating distractions doesn’t mean you cannot pick up the phone at all during those 25 minutes. Similarly, nothing bad will happen, if you check the inbox or if you go to the toilet during the Pomodoro. This technique has been created to help you manage your time and improve your productivity at work, so use it the best way you can.
Moreover, the more you practice the better you become in using Pomodoro technique. Having few minute breaks is essential especially when working in front of the computer; your mind and your body will thank you for it later.
What methods do you use to create an effective timetable? How do you manage your productivity? Have you ever used the Pomodoro technique or any other similar one to manage your time? If so, would you share your experience? I will be happy to hear from you!