Some days you slay your to-do list, some days your to-do list slays you, amirite?
If you’re feeling like you usually fall into the latter category, I’ve got something good for you today.
I’m gonna share with you a simple strategy that’ll really power up your productivity so that you get WAY more done every day.
So here’s the dealio… you can watch the video (just 5 mins!) to get the deets OR read below. Whatever suits your fancy!
How to get everything done and still have a life
Surprisingly, one of the most frequent questions I get asked, believe it or not, is “how do you get so much done?” “How do you produce so much content? So many programs? How do you do it when you don’t work crazy hours?”
And they’re right–I don’t work crazy hours! I’m really big on the “lifestyle business”. I have a little boy who I love to pick up from school, and there’s nothing I love more than kicking up at the end of the day and relaxing.
So that means that I need to get a LOT done during the hours I DO work.
The funny thing is, I have never really followed a specific strategy or approach to being productive, I just kinda fell into this habit (most likely from my years in grad school, where there was always WAY more to get done than was ever really humanly possible).
But as I started getting this question more and more, whether I was on webinars or my one-on-one clients asking me, I realized I needed to figure out a way to break down what it is I actually do, in a way that others can replicate.
So I sat down to kinda dissect and pick apart my method, really think about how I produce my work during the day, and what that actually LOOKS like. I noticed that I seemed to work in incremental units. So I went out in search of whether or not there’s a productivity technique that reflects that (because pretty much everything out there has been done before at some point). I stumbled across the pomodoro technique. That is pretty much the essence of how I work!
How the Pomodoro Technique Works
So, check this out, it’s really simple…
The key idea behind the pomodoro technique is that the brain is better able to concentrate and you’re able to be more focused when you work in short sprints. So instead of marathon sessions, you actually schedule your work in 25 minute segments. So here’s how it goes:
Step #1. Get a timer (I’ll give you a couple app recommendations in a minute here) and set it for 25 minutes. You go to task on ONE THING. UNINTERRUPTED, ‘kay? I see a lot of my clients when we’re screensharing on Skype, and they have mail alerts, facebook, and everything you can imagine popping up on their screen at random times, and I’m like *GASP* no no NO! That totally interrupts your flow and your focus. So when I say “set the timer for 25 minutes and pick a task”, it means uninterrupted. Don’t make me come over there… 😉
Then, when that timer goes off, you’re going to take a piece of paper and put a checkmark on it. You then take a 5-minute break.
That completes one pomodoro.
Then you start again. You do another 25 minute segment, as soon as that’s over and the timer goes off, put another checkmark down and take a 5-minute break. Do 4 pomodoros in a row (so basically 2 hours of work), where you took a 5-minute break between each pomodoro.
After that 4th pomodoro, you get an extended break for 15-30 minutes (hooray!), whatever you feel you need to recharge, and then you start all over again with 4 more pomodoros.
Pretty straightforward, right?
The key is, take a 25-minute segment, focus, pedal to the metal, and then you reward yourself with 5-minutes. Whatever toots your horn, whatever you fancy, you can do.
Repeat it 4 times in a row, then you get to take a longer break. That is pretty much how I work.
Now, I don’t set an actual timer because I’ve been in the habit of working this way for a long time, but it can be helpful when you’re first settling into this new approach to set one.
So what timers do I recommend?
If you want to go super simple, just use the timer on your mobile phone. Set that to count down, and have an alarm go off. Or, alternatively, there are a couple of apps designed specifically for this pomodoro technique.
One I like is called the Marinara Timer (marinaratimer.com). It’s web-based and meant to be more flexible than the traditional pomodoro technique, so if you find that you’re more productive with slightly longer or shorter intervals, you can create a custom timer. The other one is called Tomighty (tomighty.org), and this is a software you actually install on your computer, so it’s not web-based. They’re both free 🙂
Go for one of those if you want one specific to the pomodoro technique. Otherwise, grab your mobile phone, set the timer, and start powering up your productivity!