I have written about the Pomodoro technique before. And that is because I find it to be remarkably effective.
When I use this, my productivity skyrockets and I get far more done than when I don’t.
If you are unaware of the Pomodoro technique, Francesco Cirrillo developed it in the late 1980s. He was doing a postgraduate degree and wanted to come up with a way of being more productive.
He had one of those kitchen timers, that looked like a tomato. And so he experimented with time. It turned out that if he set a 25 minute time period and then took a rest after each of these segments, his productivity got better.
And he went on to write a book all about it. You can download it for free from Pomodoro.com.
I only read part of it and started using the technique then. And it worked well. Unfortunately I stopped using it and saw a corresponding drop in productivity.
The Problem of Porn
Over the years I have gone through periods of using it religiously and periods when I haven’t.
It is one of those things that I find stupid about me. The fact I can find something that works brilliantly. Then I stop using it. It is a form of self-sabotage, I suspect.
I recently discovered the term Productivity Porn. And like more traditional pornography it can get addictive. In my case I am addicted to trying different things to improve my productivity. Sometimes it works. But often it drags me away from what it is that works and decreases my effectiveness.
Over the past few weeks I have been playing around with several tools. And this is what I have come up with that I believe will ensure that next week is more productive than this week.
Next week there is a reasonable chance I will be adding to this some elements from the 12 Week Year. This is the book I am currently reading and is the latest element of my productivity porn! Still several people I respect recommended it, so I believe it is worth reading.
My Weekly Productivity Plan
So here is my current plan for increased productivity and what I am aiming to do on a daily basis:
The Day Before (or sometimes first thing in the morning after my morning routine):
I go through The Simpleology Start my day ritual. This is a list of all the things that I want to do. Including things I add to it during the day. The basic system is free and has some great training. The site itself is a little clunky in places, but for me I think it works well. It also has a nifty idea called “The Dreamcatcher”. This is both a browser add on, or an email address you can email ideas and tasks to. You can then evaluate it the next morning. I am told that Simpleology has similar elements to Dave Allen’s Getting Things done system.
Once I have gone through that exercise I go through an exercise based on the book, The One Thing. Here I review what it is I want to do on a daily basis to accomplish my weekly, monthly, yearly and 5 yearly goals.
I then add these to my Trello productivity board. This is where I will also break down the elements into various components. And if necessary delegate elements to those who do some work for me.
Then I add these elements to my Pomodoro application. I assign how many Pomodoro’s I think each element will take. And then I focus purely on that for the Pomodoro time period. Sometimes I may get it done earlier, in which case I can start on the next Pomodoro.
As an example this blog post is broken into two pomodoros. One for writing the post, the second for editing it. I finished writing this in 21 minutes, so I will start doing some of the editing. Once my 25 minutes is up, I will then get up, take a break for 5 minutes or so, and then come back to get on with the next Pomodoro.
That is the breakdown of my ideal daily plan. And when I manage not to deviate from this it is amazing how much I can get done in a day. Unfortunately there are interruptions that can get in the way.
For me it is important to be ruthless about stopping those interruptions. In a post I wrote about the danger of interruptions I shared some of the tools I use to stop that happening.
So that is how I am looking to improve how I get things done. How about you? Would love to hear your thoughts and comments below.
Time to write: 21 minutes
Time to edit and prettify: 19 minutes
Time from start to finish 45
Happy with result 6