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The Best Productivity Trick I Learned From My Coach

When I was younger, I used to struggle immensely with executive functioning skills, including organizational and time management. Frankly, working with a specialist on these weaknesses used to be something I felt shy about sharing, but now I feel the opposite. If anything I can say is helpful to someone else, then by all means why wouldn't I share it? (This is a rhetorical question). One of the best secrets this coach taught me is the magic of the Pomodoro technique!

This Pomodoro (Italian for Tomato) gets its name from a tomato-shaped timer that its creator, Francesco Cirillo, first used to address his procrastination. There is a fantastic app on the iPhone and similar devices that I highly recommend trying out!

The way to use the Pomodoro technique is as follows:

1) Decide on a distinct and specific task that you wish to focus on that will take you at least 25 minutes to do. Use the previous section as a guide to break down a project into smaller, manageable tasks that helps you get into a state of flow

2) Start a timer for 25 minutes and begin working on said task. This time block is what we call the Pomodoro. It's an indivisible unit of time. It's not a good idea to do half a Pomodoro. Most importantly, do not work on anything else. If you get distracted, find a way to bring yourself back to work. It happens to the best of us! Over time, this technique will condition you to focus exclusively on the task at hand, ergo increasing your productivity and discipline.

3) Once the timer ends, reward yourself! Ways to do this could include getting up, stretching, getting some more water, and moving/dancing to some music! The way this system works, you give yourself a 5 minute break before you move on to the next Pomodoro. It's literally that simple!

The rules of the Pomodoro technique are as follows:

1) The Pomodoro method involves an all or nothing mentality. Therefore, it it imperative that you can never do half a Pomodoro. You can either do one or none. Remember Yoda: do or do not. There is no try. If you deliberately cave in to distraction 21 minutes into a Pomodoro, reset the timer. Consistency will help you build your focus and work ethic.

2) Start a work period of 25 minutes. When you're starting to work with the Pomodoro method, you should experiment with 25 minute work periods and breaks of 5 minutes

3) Then begin experimenting with longer time periods. Once you've grasped the flow of doing one task at a time for 25 minutes, putting your phone on airplane mode without anxiety, and consistently getting a good chunk of work done in a day, then you can experiment with longer work periods (30, 35 minutes, etc.)


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