How do you work on your time management? Until recently I thought the best way to get work done was to put my headphones on, and multi-task like a fool for hours straight. I would come out the other side all bleary eyed. But hey, I had done work, right?
Eventually you burn out. For me, the burn out is a semi-daily, semi-weekly affair. On a day to day basis, I hit a wall around 4 or 5pm. At this point I find it almost impossible to do "good" work. It becomes a slog, kind of like the end of a Rocky fight or Season 5 of Lost.
Recently I came across this post by Chris Winfield entitled "How to work a 40 hour week in 16.7". My gut reaction was something along the lines of "Oh great, another medium-tastic headline", but I clicked it anyway..
What a smart move!
In a very concise post, complete with digestible bullet points, Chris introduces you to the Pomodoro Technique, a way of working more efficiently. In short it works like so:
1) Choose a task;
2) Set a timer for 25 minutes;
3) Work on your task until the timer rings, then put a checkmark on a tracker;
4) Take a five minute break (you just completed your first Pomodoro!); then
5) Repeat steps 1–4 three more times, followed by a 15 minute break.
Well it seems so. Yesterday I did 9 Pomodoros, the day before? 8. Now that's only 200 minutes, or just under 3 and half hours. Our of an 8.5hr day that, that's 39%. If I told my boss that I was working for 39% of the day he'd probably react quite poorly, but the crux of this technique is focus.
Select a task, and for those 25 minutes you cannot work on anything else at all. No emails, no whatsapps, no chit chat, nada. Put your headphones on and dedicate yourself to a predetermined task for 25 minutes. Rinse, then repeat.
You will be astounded at how much you achieve, and more importantly (at least for me) you'll feel fresh. Oh, and it's fun.