I’m a big fan of productivity. You could also say I’m lazy; I want to get as much done as quickly as possible so I can move on to other things. One of the best tools I’ve found that helps me do this is a Pomodoro timer.
You can read a bit about the Pomodoro technique here. In short, here’s what you do:
- Set the pomodoro timer for 25 minutes.
- Work on the task until the timer rings.
- Take a short break (3–5 minutes), then set the timer for 25 minutes again. This is one pomodoro.
- After four pomodoros take a longer break (15–30 minutes).
Simple, right? The reason I’ve found this so helpful is because it helps me break a task down into a manageable chunk. When I have a load of emails to answer or a huge project to tackle, it’s easy to feel like the job is too big. Luckily, I’ve always been able to talk myself into working for 25 minutes. My internal conversation goes something like this:
Just 25 minutes Adam! Anyone can do that much work! You can give up afterwards.
What ends up happening, of course, is that three minutes into the pomodoro I’m happily working and the task gets done. The hardest part for me is always starting; once I start the rest seems to take care of itself.
You can use just about any tool to do this, such as a kitchen timer or the timer on your phone. I enjoy using a software solution that sits in the menu bar of my Mac, such as Pomodoro Timer for Mac. An online option that I often use is Focus Booster. (It also has an app you can download.) If you’re looking for a more complete list of software options check here.