How to increase productivity? This is a question that every professional person has. Over the years I have seen people that are able to do ridiculous amount of work in the same 24 hrs. time frame that we have. Chances are that if you are a Software Developer, you will know about some developers that are writing books, articles, creating training and also working 8 hours a day. Somehow these people have been able to do it for so many years and we wonder how on Earth are they so productive?
Introducing the Pomodoro Technique
I recently learned this one technique called the Pomodoro Technique. Pomodoro technique is so simple that initially you might not see the point in it. All it asks you to do is to pick a single task, work on that task uninterrupted for one Pomodoro cycle which is equal to 25 Minutes.
After you have completed one Pomodoro cycle, you can take break of 5 minutes, after 4 Pomodoro cycles, you can take a longer break of 15 minutes.
You might think how can this increase your Productivity? The key word here is Uninterrupted. As humans we have always so many things running in our head and we face so many distractions. We get emails, phone calls, messages, we are distracted by other people’s conversations around us and so much more.
All these distractions breaks our concentration and focus, thus we lose our productivity. Have you ever faced a situation where you are in the middle of writing some complex code and there is so much going on in your mind, all of a sudden you see the email notification pop up. You start reading the email, maybe it is important, you might want to answer that email as it is from your boss and you don’t want to keep him waiting. By the time you are done with that email, you would have lost 10-15 minutes of your time. What’s worse is that you will need more time to get back that focus level that you had and once you get there, there is another distraction!
Does this mean that during a Pomodoro technique you cannot answer anything? Well it really depends, I am not saying that you should not answer an emergency call, or you should not respond to a notification that your Database server is down. What I recommend is to only get distracted if it is really urgent.
Another useful thing that a lot of people have done is to keep track of your distractions, when you finish your day, look at how many times you were distracted and how many of them were critical.
If you want to reply to emails then allocate a complete Pomodoro cycle to only replying back to emails. This way you will be able to track also how much time you spend replying to emails and stuff.
I have seen more and more people praising the Pomodoro technique and I have myself found it to be extremely useful. There are many tools out there both online and offline that allow you to use Pomodoro Timer, my personal favorite is TeamViz. It is very simple to use and allows me to simply create tasks. When I start working on any task, I start the Pomodoro timer, if I am distracted during the Pomodoro cycle, I can click on the Interruption button to record it. Later I can view report like how many Pomodoros I have achieved, how many times was I interrupted etc. It is a simple yet powerful tool that I just love to use.
So if are not using the Pomodoro technique right now, give it a try, it has done wonders for me and I am sure you will benefit from it too. This is a guaranteed way to increase your productivity right from day 1. Till next time, Happy Coding!