Out of all the productivity systems I’ve tried, the Pomodoro technique has been most effective. The concept is simple, you use a timer to set short work sprints – usually around 30 minutes in length. In between each interval is a short break. After four sprints you take a longer break.
Why is this so effective? It address the most common self imposed productivity killers:
It helps you get over the hump of starting. Often times the most difficult aspect of a task is taking the first step. The Pomodoro technique overcomes this by giving you the promise of a guilt free break and by creating a sense of urgency a.la a ticking timer.
Numerous and frequent breaks can help one’s mental ability over time — keeping you refreshed and alert. It creates a better work / life balance where you don’t have to feel guilty about doing leisure activities. Instead, you’ve planned for them.
You can schedule your distractions like social media, reading articles or checking your e-mail. Knowing that you will eventually get to indulge makes it much less tempting to cheat while in the middle of a task.
There are several useful Pomodoro tools available that can help you implement this technique:
I find that once I’ve started the timer I quickly enter a state of flow that’s so powerful that I don’t want to take a break after thirty minutes, I’d rather try and finish the task. Whether you finish or not is up to you, if you’re having trouble getting difficult but high impact tasks done — try this technique.