Confession: I am not the most organized person in the world. I’m your classic creative type – all big, messy ideas. I am the opposite of “Type A.” The upside of this is that I’m pretty easygoing; the downside is that organization is a struggle.
The important thing is, I know this about myself. I realize that organization, discipline and attention to detail do not come naturally to me, so I work really hard to expand their presence in my universe. There are a lot of things I do that help me to achieve this:
- I have my home office in a room far from TVs and refrigerators so I can minimize distractions while I work
- I rely on spell and grammar-checking tools since I think faster than I write – and whenever I can, I get someone to proofread my writing
- I carry an actual paper notebook everywhere (hardcover) and jot down anything that might become an action item
- I record important calls, especially calls that provide information I need to produce content
- I use a task manager with a Pomodoro Timer to keep me focused, productive and on-task
So, those first four may seem obvious, while that fifth one may have introduced a new term to many of you.
What the heck is a Pomodoro Timer??
Basically, it’s a timer that allows you 25 minutes to focus on one single task. No checking email. No perusing Facebook. You work on one thing and one thing only for 25 minutes. After each pomodoro, you get a five minute break. After three pomodoros, you get a longer break.
It’s so simple, but it’s so insanely effective! When you consciously focus on a single task, you can get so much done in that 25-minute chunk of time. I’m far more productive in three pomodoros than I am in three hours.
Now, I can’t use the pomodoro technique all day, every day – sometimes I have meetings. Sometimes I get into a groove on a longer writing project and don’t want to take breaks. But for at least three days out of the work week, using a task manager with a pomodoro timer is the best way for me to ensure I get everything done.
The tool I rely on to manage my tasks is called Kanban Flow. It’s got a built in pomodoro timer, and it’s free. It works really well for me, but there are loads of others out there. Zapier built a pretty comprehensive list.
And, in case you’re interested, here are some great articles that explain the benefits of the pomodoro technique way better than I did!
- “How to Work 40 Hours in 16.7” – from Medium, written by @chriswinfield
- “How To Pomodoro Your Way To Productivity (Pomodoro Technique Tips)” – from Trello, written by Lauren Moon
- “Productivity 101: A Primer to The Pomodoro Technique” – from Lifehacker, written by Alan Henry