Stop me if you’ve heard this one before…
Papa Tomato, Mama Tomato and Toddler Tomato were all walking down the street...
...until, poor Toddler Tomato started to lag behind...
...and much to Mama Tomato’s horror, frustrated Papa Tomato ran back to little, tiny Toddler Tomato, smacked him over the head and said:
Now, I admit, that’s a pretty awful joke for several reasons (tomato child abuse being at the top of the list)...
...but also also because, now, you just realized that I wasted a precious minute of your very valuable time. YIKES!
My apologies for that, but I just needed to get your attention so I could tell you about another, much more awesome tomato sauce story that will actually save you countless hours of non-productive time from here on out!
And don't worry, this tale of red skinned nightshades won’t be sadistic or punny either…
Instead, it’s jam packed with the productivity nutrients you need to become the kind of disciplined, self-driven BADASS that consistently GETS SHIT DONE!
Perhaps you’re a writer looking to launch a blog or get serious about turning that book idea into a Amazon.com reality.
Maybe you’re a small business owner or freelancer with several clients that all compete loudly for your limited time. The push and pull of their needs, desires and last minute requests always seems to distract you from completing individual jobs as fast as you’d like.
You might even be a lawyer, engineer or programer who frequently deals with several, simultaneous projects which, let's face it, jacks up the amount of time it takes you to complete each one.
Well, thankfully, there’s an effective time-management solution you can learn to combat your increasingly hectic work life:
It’s called The Pomodoro Technique (pomodoro means tomato in Italian).
Basically, a pomodoro is a 30 minute block of time broken down into two parts:
After every four pomodoros, you take a longer 15 to 30 minute break.
Sounds simple, right?
Well, to give you an idea of the tomato timer's impact on my own innate drift towards idleness, I started using this method last April when I moved to Budapest to become a self-driven and self-accountable, productivity focused digital nomad.
It transformed me from an location independent lifestyle dreamer to a paid, freelance writing vagabond!
The Pomodoro Technique was a total game changer for me, not only because it boosted my productivity each day, but it also:
Helped me become an effective goal and task planner.
Honed my ability to estimate how long it would take to complete different, mission critical tasks.
Forced me to take frequent physical and mental breaks from taxing work I was focused on.
Also, the method offers cumulative benefits as your small, but frequent daily wins start to compound over time building both psychological confidence and tangible results.
Because you must focus on getting each task done within a 25 minute window, you’re constantly forced to reevaluate if you’re following the powerful Pareto Principle. You keep asking yourself:
"Is what I'm currently working on a 20% activity that will contribute to the 80% of my desired results?"
In this way, the Pomodoro technique keeps you driving towards your big goals with minimal wasted time and effort.
To implement a tomato timer into your work schedule, simply do the following:
Break your goals and deliverables down into units that can be completed in 25 minutes sessions.
Group tasks into blocks of 4 pomodoros (remember that 1 pomodoro = 25 minutes of focused work to complete a single taske followed by a 5 minute break). Write down what each pomodoro task will be in a notebook.
If you get distracted by a thought, idea, phone call, or email, just write a note about it down in your notebook to address it later during a break or after your scheduled work hours have been completed.
Cross out each task as you complete them.
Take a 15 to 30 minute break after each block of 4 pomodoros.
Evaluate your work results to see if you can:
Better estimate the number of pomodoros it takes to complete certain tasks.
More effectively plan your work days, work weeks and long term projects.
Improve the quality of your work.
Improve the retention and recall of information you learned during a pomodoro.
Tracking your pomodoro tasks becomes an incredible dataset you can use to evaluate your progress in each focus area of your work. It can help to highlight where you’re struggling to break down and plan projects effectively for optimized delivery.
Look, whatever method you decide to track your pomodoros with, just make sure that you record them because:
“What gets measured gets managed.” -Peter Drucker
I hope this gourmet tomato awesome sauce helps boost your productivity like it did for me!
I’d really like to hear about your own experience with The Pomodoro Technique if you’ve ever used it before or plan to give it a try. Leave a comment below to let me know how you got on with it!
But now, if you’ll excuse me, a tomato just buzzed in my face so I guess it’s time to get up and take a break!
P.P.S. While you're here, please consider signing up for my email list so I can send you future posts about my life as a Modern (m+An)imal!
Matt's a geologist turned online marketer and digital minimalist. He's a Modern Manimal on a mission to cultivate a high-tech, hunter-gatherer lifestyle within our exceedingly domesticated world. When away from his tech, you can find him studying complex human movement through random play or practices like Aikido, AcroYoga and Barefoot Running.
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