Last week, I started using using The Pomodoro Technique - it is basically setting a timer and focusing on the task at hand. You work in 25 minute busts (called Pomodoros) with a 5 minute break. After 4 Pomodoros, you take a longer minute break of 15-30 minutes. The "Technique" got it's name from the tomato timer used. You can read more on it in the link, but you get the idea.
I am amazed at not only how much I get done in 25 minutes, but how fast that 25 minutes goes!
I found a free app on my phone and it works okay. What I don't like about it is that when I need to focus I turn my cell phone to silent so I am not interrupted by my notifications. When my phone is on silent, my Pomodoro alarm is also silent.
What I like about the Pomodoro App is that it tracks how many Pomodoros a task takes, and also remembers to give you extra time when you've worked for 4 Pomodoros.
The alarm on my phone goes off when I have it set to silent. But doesn't remind me to take longer breaks!
I am sure I will figure it out, but working in 25 minute bursts with a quick 5 minute break seems to be working wonderfully well.
Yesterday I added "Eat That Frog" to my productivity repertoire - short and sweet is that you start your day with your worst task, something you've been putting off and get it done. Not doing that task weighs down on you; completing it frees you.
My frog yesterday was all the stuff I haven't been putting off.
Such as my folder of mail and stuff in the kitchen. We each have a folder and instead of having piles on the counter, we have folders. My folder is overflowing to the point that I have a pile on the counter. You can see the corner of that pile in the bottom left corner of the picture.
I also had these two baskets full of stuff -- Things that need to be done, but I just don't get around to it, like changing my name on a few last items that are still in my maiden name. The H2O at Home box contained something I was supposed to return to Amazon.com -- too late, I get to keep the items!
My goal today was to just get it organized, knowing that there are a lot of things that need to get done, but my first step was to sort it all. As I was going through the stuff, I realized there were different areas/subject, so I made a folder for each, placed them in a file sorter I had from my old classroom. The first file, "Needs Action" are bills that I need to pay, or other things that have a rather short timeline.
I made a huge dent during my first pomodoro (25 minutes) and finished going through what remained in about 10 minutes into my 2nd pomodoro. I printed out the cute frog and while waiting for my laminator to heat up, I looked up at this:
I pulled the stack of papers and books down. The books were put away where they belong, sorted the other papers and items.
My work area looked like this, in 2 pomodoros, or 50 minutes:
My plan is that I will start each morning with eating a frog - either something in the folder, or something else that is pressing.
The best part is that I found a refund check in the amount of $101.80!!!