With the world running the rat race, time management has become the most crucial life skill. To be able to juggle between so many responsibilities and roles, from an employee to a responsible family member, time management skills can be our savior.
One of the biggest advantages of mastering the skill of time management is that it allows us to be more efficient by being in control of how we spend our time. By allotting the right time to the right activity, helps us make the best use of time.
I am a freelancer, a wife, an entrepreneur in the making, and I also study and give exams to upskill myself. And I really don’t know how I am doing all of this at a time. But I learned one important lesson in this process: we need to prioritize the tasks on our to-do list. And begin to allot time slots for each of the tasks. Investing too much time into one, can blind us and have us lagging at the task.
One technique that I recently read to practice was the Pomodoro Technique. It is a time management system that encourages people to work with the time they have, rather than against it.
The tomato technique
This popular technique was introduced by Francesco Cirillo. He wrote, “I discovered that you could learn how to improve your effectiveness and be better able to estimate how long a task will take to complete by recording how you utilize your time.” Cirillo wrote a 130 pages book about this method and its biggest strength lies in its simplicity.
This technique is the best to use to achieve all the concentration for a task, especially if there is a lot of repetitive work involved. Unlike trying to work without a break, it gets relatively easy to stack small sessions. It proves its efficiency, by helping us accomplish tasks in short bursts.
The secret is thinking tomato rather than hours. As silly as it sounds, millions of people have proved this technique to be life-changing. Oh, if you are wondering why tomato? Pomodoro in Italy is tomato.
You might want to try this tomato technique if you:
- Easily find distractions and derail the whole day work
- Possess a lot of open-ended work that could take unlimited amount of time
- Consistently work beyond the point of optimal productivity
- Overly optimistic when it comes to the amount of work carried during the day
- Enjoy a gamified goal setting process
The productivity tool
The 25 minutes work sprints are the core of the method. If you wondering why 25minutes in particular? The duration of 25 minutes is only a suggestion. It stands at a middle ground between being too short to get a job done or too long to maintain focus.
This productive tool also includes 3 other rules for getting the most out of the limited resource – time.
- Break down complex projects.
- Small tasks go together: for example, writing a check, setting an appointment with your doctor, reply to a text, can all be done together.
- Once a pomodoro is set, it must ring: The pomodoro is an indivisible unit of time and cannot be broken, especially not to check incoming emails, team chats, or text messages.
In case of unavoidable disruption, it is ok to take a 5 min break and start all over again. Cirillo also further recommends tracking our distractions and interruptions – both internal and external. This can help us reflect on how to avoid them in our next session.
This rule stands good even if we finish the task well before the timer goes off. It is best to use the rest of the time for fine-tuning our skills or improving our knowledge.
The major advantage of this technique is:
- Helps focus
- Makes progress a process
- Reduces multitasking or distractions
- Tracks efforts
Time to manage
Well, if you’re new to time management techniques, you’ll certainly see the reward. Of course, it is flexible, but its’ best not to try to shoehorn work into it if it doesn’t fit. However, it is not the only way to make the best of time. Time blocking and Deep work are other methodologies that can help one complete a task and achieve desired goals within timelines.
On the other hand, the Pomodoro technique doesn’t work for people who can’t see themselves taking regular breaks. Although we are given the freedom to alter the session time and break to make them longer to suit our convenience. It is also important to bear in mind that breaks promote mental agility, focus and flow, without them you risk burnout.
Well, you know only if you try. With luck, it could give you a way to be continuously productive while keeping you from burning out.