Ever had the feeling at the end of your workday you’ve been busy with a lot of things but didn’t really accomplish anything?
During such a day you’ve probably been doing a lot of multitasking. While you set out to to complete a task, people are walking in for a chat, you’re answering the telephone, replying emails, having to go to a meeting and basically have a lot of distractions.
Studies have shown that multitasking hurt your IQ more than smoking marijuana. In his book Quality Software Management: Systems Thinking, Gerald M. Weinberg states that 20% of time is lost due to switching a task. Ilya Pozin wrote a nice article on Inc.com about 7 things Highly Productive People do:
- Work backwards from goals to milestones to tasks.
- Stop multi-tasking.
- Be militant about eliminating distractions.
- Schedule your email.
- Use the phone.
- Work on your own agenda.
- Work in 60 to 90 minute intervals.
Pratically all of the principles marked bold can be achieved using the The Pomodoro Technique®. The Pomodoro Technique is a time management system that closely resembles Kanban. Basically, you list the tasks you are about to achieve, limit your work in progress by 1 at a time and get things done through a nice ‘One Piece Flow’.
Here’s a basic scheme how the process works:
- Choose a task to be accomplished
- Set the Pomodoro to 25 minutes (the Pomodoro is the timer)
- Work on the task until the Pomodoro rings, then put a check on your sheet of paper
- Take a short break (5 minutes is OK)
- Every 4 Pomodoros take a longer break
Personally I use a Pomodoro app for my Android phone calles “Pomodroid“. When I started using this technique, I was quite shocked how challenging it sometimes was to work for 25 minutes without distractions. I found that turning the ticking-sound of the app on, helped me to remind myself to stay focussed.
Once I got more experienced using this technique, it became more easy to concentrate, eliminate distractions, minimizing multitasking and getting things done. For a lot of tasks, I’m able to estimate how many pomodoro’s it takes to finish a task.
Want to know more? Visit the Pomodoro Technique website and let me know how this technique has helped you.