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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:

 

  1. Choose a task to be accomplished
  2. Set the Pomodoro to 25 minutes (the Pomodoro is the timer)
  3. Work on the task until the Pomodoro rings, then put a check on your sheet of paper
  4. Take a short break (5 minutes is OK)
  5. 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.

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