My $19 Productivity Hack

productivity hackMy $19 Productivity Hack

Have you ever heard of the productivity hack called the Pomodoro technique?

Ever procrastinated on a big task and don’t know what to do to get started?

Feel like your day flew by and you didn’t get anything on your list done?

I’m going to talk about these issues and tell you about a productivity hack I’m using that cost me 19 bucks that I’m pretty happy with, coming right up.

Okay, so let’s start with the word Pomodoro – it literally means apple of gold in Italian which is a reference to the color of a tomato before it’s fully ripe.

But for most of us, we know the word as Tomato sauce or as some older Italian friends call gravy.

How did a reference to a vegetable make its way into the world of productivity?

It’s sort of a funny story – a guy by the name of Francesco Cirillo was a university student and was feeling distracted in his studies, so he began using a timer to set aside dedicated time blocks for his work.

That timer was in the shape of a tomato – so the Pomodoro method or technique was born.

You can read about the Pomodoro technique in several books and online resources on productivity, but the basic essence of it is that when you have a set amount of time to accomplish a task it creates urgency – that urgency gets you to focus on just that task.

So, rather than being distracted you know you’ve got a set amount of time to get work done.

And this is where this productivity hack works for me.

When I set the timer for 25 minutes I know that for the next 25 minutes I’m going to work on one single thing. It may be to completion, or it may be just one part or step of many to get a task done.

It sounds stupid, but for some reason, this timer keeps me focused and on track for what I call a sprint – run this sprint for 25 minutes then rest for 5 minutes.

If I’m doing these sprints consecutively for a couple of hours I’ll take a longer break – like 15 to 30 minutes before I get back at it.

Maybe even plan my lunch around the break.

Look, no day is ever perfectly structured and I’m not suggesting that you can chunk an entire day into half-hour blocks.

That’s not the way a work day goes – but if you can take a portion of your day and chunk it into these half-hour blocks, I think you’d be amazed at what you can accomplish.

Now I’ve talked about the 25 minutes of work time, but I also want to give some attention to the breaks.

The break is almost as important as the sprint because it helps prevent being burnt out.

If you’re like me and get lost in a project and work for 90 minutes to 2 or more hours at a clip you know that feeling of being fried when you finally lift your head up from the task you’re focused on.

By incorporating breaks – just 5 minutes – into your workflow you help reduce that burnout.

What I’m finding in the last two weeks since making the purchase of this timer is that it actually does get me to buckle down and do the one thing I’m setting out to do.

Yes, I know that sounds strange, but this is an effective method of sticking to the task at hand and focusing exclusively on it, and for multi-taskers – like me – you know how difficult it can be to do just one thing at a time.

You can find this timer and many others on Amazon – I used the search term productivity timer –

there are a bunch of different shapes, sizes, and functions – I just wanted to keep it simple to take Amazon’s choice for $19.

I hope you find this hack interesting and effective for you and your workload. I’d love to hear your comments as well below.


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