It can be surprising how most of our days go to waste.
You login to your computer early in the morning, hoping to get some serious work done, only to realize 5 hours later that you haven’t really done anything; you’ve only been checking Facebook, Twitter, and your email every other minute and you can’t seem to break out of that loop.
I’ve struggled with this for awhile too, and I could barely get anything done until I started implementing a scientifically-proven approach to productivity. I now find it easy to write 5,000 words on the average day, and that’s just part of what I get done for the day.
Is there any secret to this sudden increase in productivity?
The Pomodoro Technique: Why it is the Simplest Productivity Tip You’re Ignoring
The Pomodoro Technique was created by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s and it is a time management method based on breaking down your work into 25-minute intervals separated by short breaks.
The idea behind the Pomodoro Technique is simple: for every 25 minutes of work you do you are going to take a five minutes break.
Depending on what you’re doing, you don’t have to stick to a 25-minute interval. It could be a 40-minute interval, a 60-minute interval or anything else that works for you; the idea is to help you avoid working for long periods, but to work at intervals.
The Pomodoro Technique is becoming increasingly popular because it is effective at boosting productivity. In fact, the success of the Pomodoro Technique has been scientifically proven.
A 2008 study by John Caldwell, Ph.D., that analyzed fatigue in pilots, revealed that long duty hours reduce alertness in the cockpit. As a result, taking short breaks between long sessions can significantly improve awareness and focus.
There are several other studies that have shown the benefits of harnessing Ultradian Rhythms; which is the idea that we have various cycles of peak productivity every day as well as periods where we experience low productivity. Research suggests that we need to renew our energy at 90 minute intervals by taking short breaks, of around 20 minutes, before continuing with our tasks.
By harnessing Ultradian Rhythms to our advantage, we will be able to get a lot more done by taking advantage of our natural productivity cycles.
How You Can Use this to Your Advantage
You can benefit from the Pomodoro Technique by taking advantage of your Ultradian Rhythms and avoiding working long stretches; instead, breakdown your work period into intervals accompanied by short breaks.
For me, it is 25 minutes of work accompanied by a 5 minute break. I don’t always stick to this, but I find myself more productive by avoiding working for more than 50 minutes at a stretch and I take 5 – 20 minutes break after each work session. As a result, I find myself more energized, and renewed, to be able to focus on the task at hand.
For you, this could be 40 minutes of work accompanied by a 10 minutes break, or 60 minutes of work accompanied by a 15 minutes break. You can even go for 90 minutes work sessions and a 20 minutes break, but make sure you don’t work more than 90 minutes at any given time. Instead, take regularly breaks to keep you refreshed and energized.
Apps that Can Help You Take Advantage of the Pomodoro Technique
The following apps will help you automate the Pomodoro Technique and get maximum benefit out of each work session:
1. Team Viz: You can install this app on your computer and use its timing feature to keep yourself on track. It uses a 25-minute interval and a 5-minute break by default, but you can configure it to use any interval you want. It’s inbuilt To-Do list can also come in very handy.
2. Pomodairo: This is a free app, based on the Pomodoro Technique, that you can install on your computer. You need to have Adobe Air installed on your computer before you can use it.
3. Focus Booster: You can install this app on your desktop or use the web app to work in Pomodoro sessions.
Are you doing anything to take charge of your productivity? You will be surprised at how effective the Pomodoro Technique can be once you start using it!