If you're already working at home, you probably know how easily it is to become distracted by … well, pretty much everything else. Facebook (the #1 culprit these days). Your email. Twitter. Just interesting stuff you'd rather look at online than do any work.
The end result is that work takes 2 to 3 times as long as it should because you spent so much time just goofing off. I know because I've been there and I'm there every day. What I'm about to share with you is the Pomodoro Technique. It was invented by Francisco Cirillo in the '80s and it is practiced by professionals and working individuals worldwide today.
While I am not using this technique currently, I'm about to start due to the frequent recommendations friends and family. They swear by it and claim it leaves them more time to do what they want after work is done. So here's how it works:
How the Pomodoro Technique Works
- Set a timer to 25 minutes.
- Work for 25 minutes without stopping.
- Take a 5 minute break.
- Work another 25 minutes without stopping.
- Take another 5 minute break.
- Do this again two more times. The end result should be four 25 minute work sessions and four 5 minute breaks.
- After the fourth 5 minute break, your next break should last 20 minutes.
- Start the entire process over again.
Where does the discipline to do this come from?
You'll have to find that discipline within yourself. But if you do this for a while, you will start getting used to it. For example, you might to look at how much money you earn in “Pomodoros”. Like you might start to figure out that each Pomodoro is worth, say, $7 or 8 depending on how much you make per hour.
This way, you can start scheduling your work around how many Pomodoros you need to do. Each 25 minute work session is one Pomodoro. From what people have told me, doing things this way is a huge help. For example, many people spend 10 hours trying to get done with 6 hours worth of work thanks to their distractions. I can vouch for that. I know how much time I spend goofing off versus how much time I spend working actually amounts to. The work would get done faster if I followed this technique religiously.
The Science Behind the Pomodoro Technique
The research behind this technique suggests that the human mind works better and much more effectively if it gets regular “mental breaks”. So the little breaks you get with the Pomodoro technique are there to kind of recharge your batteries.
If you work non-stop for more than a 25 minute stretch, you may start to get sluggish. Your work quality might also slow down. This equals less money ultimately.
How to Get Started
Just use a regular old kitchen timer and set it to 25 minutes. Another option is a popular app, Focus Booster.
I do realize the Pomodoro Technique might not be ideal if you have a work at home job not allowing for regular breaks. The Pomodoro Technique probably works best for writers, editors, transcribers, virtual assistants, and other professions where you work when you want to work and break when you want to break.
But if you can, just try it out. After all, doesn't making the money you need to make in less time sound like an attractive idea? I am really excited to start doing this myself. Please share and let me know how it's going for you, and I'll do the same after I've tried it for a bit.
Update: Tried this today and it worked out really well! I was done working much sooner than what is normal for me. Although there was temptation to interrupt my “pomodoros” and check email, Facebook, etc., I didn't. I just waited till it was time for my breaks.
Want More Information?
If you'd like some more information on how the Pomodoro Technique works, there is a highly-rated e-book about it on Amazon here that you can download for your Kindle and read through.