I’d like to share with you a work optimization method called “The Pomodoro Technique”.
The basic principle is to focus for a 25 minute period (a “pomodoro”) on a single task with the help of a timer, traditionally the tomato shaped cooking timer (pomodoro is tomato in Italian). After completing an uninterrupted 25 minute period of focus, you may have a 5 minute break, after which you are to start another 25 minute pomodoro. I remember coming across research that showed our minds lose focus after 40 mins without rest, but I’m quite happy with the 25 minute period. On this basis, two pomodoros and two breaks also fit nicely into 60 minutes.
NO interruptions, side-tracks, message-checkings etc are allowed. If you entertain an interruption for more than a few seconds, you have to cancel the pomodoro and start over.
Your goal is to achieve as many complete pomodoros as you can in a day.
The method was developed in the 80s / early 90s but it’s even more pertinent to today’s age of constant distractions and interruptions.
Saying that, I’m finding it’s best supported via app – the app I’ve chosen on iOS is “BeFocused Pro”, which has an Apple Watch extension and a bunch of cool features like analytics on completed pomodoros (screenshots attached). The main screen you keep in front of you is always the timer which reminds you to STAY FOCUSED. There’s a theory that the ticking noise of the physical tomato timer would remind you to keep on track, hence most apps have a ticking noise as an option.
If I come across a worthy Android version I’ll post it here.