I gave a presentation to the Ontario Association of International Educators annual conference last week about Time Freedom and the benefits of focusing on one task at a time rather believing that multi-tasking is a better way of getting work done.
One of the questions I was asked was whether the Pomodoro Technique is a good way to complete focused work (set a timer for 25 minutes, do work, then have a short break and repeat), and while many people use this idea, I know many others who share my own experience in that they found the alarm actually killed their work flow and creativity.
It’s rather like the All Way stops we have on the roads in north America. We want to increase the traffic flow and yet we make everyone STOP at an intersection, whether there are any other vehicles or pedestrians around or not.
There are many studies around that prove this not only slows down journeys, it makes the road more dangerous in that drivers speed up between intersections and pollution increases because of the time cars are stopped in traffic.
In the United Kingdom you will find an abundance of ‘Roundabouts’ (Traffic Islands) that ensure the flow of vehicles is consistent, keeps travel moving and reduces pollution.
Participants on our Time Master program now receive a 15-minute egg timer with no alarm and when they practice their Focus Zone techniques, they are amazed how often they work past the timer without realizing it has expired, meaning they are even more productive than they thought possible.
It is often worth having a ‘Back Stop’ alarm at say an hour if you have another appointment, but for the short-term tasks, do not set yourself up to lose focus with a distracting alarm – go silent instead and see how long you can work.
More next time, and remember – Tap The Bucket and Stay In Your Zone!