I used to pride myself on being the Queen of Multitasking.
I could be checking my Instagram, listening to a podcast, skimming my inbox, and working on a project all at the same time.
Why in the world was I trying to do so many things at once?
Because I believed that multitasking = getting more done = more money.
FALSE FALSE FALSE.
All I was doing was half-assing everything and burning myself out.
I literally forgot how to focus for more than five seconds at a time.
I’ve had to retrain myself to focus on one thing, and one thing only, for a set period of time.
I managed to do that by implementing one tool: the Pomodoro Technique.
What is the Pomodoro Technique?
The Pomodoro Technique is a productivity tool developed by Frances Cocirillo in the 1980s. Frances was a college student when he came up with the concept of breaking work down into 25-minute chunks. The tomato-shaped kitchen timer he used to keep track of his work inspired the term pomodoro (it means “tomato” in Italian).
How Does the Pomodoro Technique Work?
Essentially you set a timer for 25 minutes, and you work on one task, and one task only, for 25 minutes straight. If something pops into your head, you write it down and get back to work–you don’t stop what you’re doing to focus on the random thing in your head. Once you hit 25 minutes, you take a five-minute break. Then you restart your timer for 25 minutes, rinse and repeat.
Technically after four full Pomodoros you’re supposed to take a 20-minute break. I don’t really do this just because I find that once I’m in a groove, I like to keep going no matter how many Pomodoros I’ve hit.
And let me tell you, folks, at first it was HARD.
I could only focus on ONE thing for a couple of minutes at a time. I was shocked at how poor my focus was. I had no idea I had gotten that bad.
But I kept at it, and I’m now currently able to focus for the full 25 minutes at a time. I can usually stretch myself to about 40 minutes if I’m really on my game.
And my output? It’s shot through the roof. I have no idea how I was ever able to accomplish anything before.
The Pomodoro Technique + The Productivity Planner
I took the Pomodoro Technique one step further and started using The Productivity Planner. It incorporates the Pomodoro Technique in a visual way.
(Shout-out here to Amanda over at She Did It Her Way for introducing me to The Productivity Planner!)
There’s no better feeling to me than checking something off a list, and that’s why The Productivity Planner works so well. You prioritize what you need to accomplish that day and estimate how many Pomodoros you think it’ll take you to complete each project.
Every time I complete a Pomodoro, I color in a circle associated with that project. At the end of the day, I can look back and see all those colored-in circles and know that they each represent a solid chunk of work that produced something.
I will continue to use The Productivity Planner and the Pomodoro Technique as long as it works so well for me.
If you need to boost your productivity, grab your copy of The Productivity Planner and see how much your focus improves!