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time management

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pomodoro technique - getting things done

The Pomodoro Technique – A Great Way to Get Things Done

One of the most common problems that we see with people is getting things done. One of the reasons many people do not accomplish their tasks is due to the fact that they are multi-tasking and do not have set deliverables in place.  This is something that I admit, I sometimes struggle with as well.

Especially as entrepreneurs, there is something called the “shiny object” syndrome. Meaning you don’t stick with something and see it to the end because something “shiny” (better or what seems better) steps into the picture and you jump over to that and abandon what you were doing before.

There is a great technique called the Pomodoro Technique. This technique is a time management method that was developed by a guy named Francesco Cirillo back in the 1980s. This technique uses a time to break down your work task into 25 minute intervals. Each interval is separated with a short break. The 25 minute intervals are called pomodoros. Funny sounding name, but it is the plural in English of the Italian word pomodorus (tomato). This name came about because this was the type of timer that Cirillo used when he was a university student.

The concept is based around the idea of having extreme focus during each interval, which will allow you to accomplish the task at hand. The breaks that are included are thought to improve mental agility.

I am using this technique right now to write and send out this blog post. :-)

To try this technique you will need a timer. If you don’t have a nifty tomato timer like Cirillo, one that we use online is http://e.ggtimer.com

Here are the steps to follow

1. Create your task list

2. Set your time for 25 minutes to accomplish your first task

3. Work on that task (and only that task) until the timer rings. If
you get sidetracked by another task, write it down to get back to it during a different interval, but immediately get back to the main task you were working on.

4. Once the timer rings, put a check mark onto a piece of paper to show that you accomplished one “set”

5. If you have less than 4 check marks (1 hour), take a break (3-5 minutes), then go back to step 1

6. If you have over 4 check marks, now it is time to take a longer break (15-30 minutes), and reset your check mark count to zero, then go back to step 1

These stages can be broken down into Planning (Step 1), Tracking (the timer), Recording (the check marks), Processing (counting the marks and accessing the proper breaktime) and Visualization (self – observation of completed tasks).

This strategy enforces Focus and Flow. If interrupted during a pomodoro, the other activity must be recorded and postponed.

Many tools have been created around this technique, but the creator (as well as myself) prefer a simple timer, paper and pencil The physical act of writing down a check mark gives a sense of accomplishment.

So, try this technique out and let us know what you think in the comments below! Personally, I think it is a great strategy to help you accomplish your tasks!

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Lorette LyttleLorette Lyttle is the “little” sister of “The Lyttle Sisters”. Lorette can’t stop thinking like a marketer everywhere she goes and loves to write about what she observes  from other businesses , personal experiences and other successful entrepreneurs and how certain strategies can be (or shouldn’t be) integrated in your business. She is also the “geeky” one of the sister clan and pulls out some techy stuff once in awhile and likes to write and share with others who will listen (since Alicia usually just nods her head at the tech talk) ! – See more at: 

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productivity, time management

For Christmas many many years ago, my friend Alex Mandossian sent us a timer as a gift.  In the card he sent along with it he said one of the most useful tools he has is a timer.  He went on to explain how chunking your time and setting a timer becomes a great productivity tool.

I’ve used a timer ever since, and in today’s Tuesday’s Tips & Tools we are featuring a free timer that runs on your computer.  You can find it at e.ggtimer.com This tool is a very simple timer that allows you to chunk your time just by typing the amount of minutes or hours you would like in the box on their page:

productivity, time management

So, how have I used this tool?

I like to organize my time so that I don’t spend all day on one task.  For example, if I am checking email, I will set the timer to 15 minutes, and I will just spend 15 focused minutes on email.  Then I’ll reset the timer for 45 minutes to work on my next blog post.

In addition to using this countdown timer, I will write a list of the tasks I would like to accomplish.  Then i will write down a time that I would like to allocate to that task, next to each task.  I will then plug each one into the e.ggtimer.com to keep myself accountable and on time, and I will then cross off that task and time time I spent on it, and move to the next one.

I am guilty of being a serial multitasker!  I multitask like crazy…. and we’ve all heard that multi-tasking can be very inefficient.  Using a timer helps me to avoid multitasking and allows me to focus on one task at a time for a specific amount of time.

Enjoy this free countdown timer and let me know how you are using it in your life!