Monday, September 26, 2016

A Productivity Trick

Mondays | by Diana Galban


Working from home has been one of the hardest things I've ever done. My favorite way to start the day is with the clock ticking because I have to get somewhere, tick tock. For this reason, I try to organize my day with military precision, particularly in the morning. There is nothing more motivating than getting ready, grabbing coffee, and heading out the door (maybe it's my decade-long American lifestyle creeping in).

There are people who love working from home: the freedom! the time! the naps! the pajamas! And I guess it does come in handy when you can sneak out and do your groceries in the middle of the day when there's less foot traffic, taking a quick break to make lunch, or calling your mom (I don't actually get to do this because of the time difference, but I image it's one of the perks). Alas, I don't think it's my thing.

Thanks to a freak coincidence of the internet (brought on by procrastination, of course), I ran into this Pomodoro Technique article and a web plugin for Lanes, an interface that tells you "good morning/evening" (don't judge me, I don't have coworkers to talk to) and allows you create a to-do list and time yourself pomodoro-style for each task.

This technique was created by Francesco Cirillo and named after a tomato shaped timer.

It's pretty simple to follow: to work on a task, time yourself for 25 minutes and take a 5 minute break where you don't work on your task at all; get a good stretch, wash that coffee mug that has been taunting you, respond to texts. The important part is to truly get a break and not get caught in an endless loop of watching Stephen Colbert videos on YouTube. The next step is to see how many pomodoro cycles it takes you to complete your task. As someone who times her showers, this was a revelation. It helps you stay focused, there's a reward in between, and if you're competitive, you get a secret thrill.

PS: If you're looking for other tips to get back into productivity mode, my friend goes by a genius method: "treat your to-do list like a contract. Don't end your day until you've checked everything off.

Would you try this? Am I nuts? (don't answer that).