How to work efficiently

How can I work more efficiently? How can I maximize the use of my time, to ensure I’m producing the highest level of quality and delivering a good end result? These are some of the questions that were on my mind and I wanted to know: how does one efficiently execute a task without losing focus or getting drained or distracted. In this article, I’ll focus on the Pomodoro Technique which is a great tool that can be leveraged to work more efficiently.

First Things First

Planning

Failing to plan is planning to fail. The easiest way to work through any project is to break it up into its sub-components (tasks). The next step is to select the tasks that you want to finish at the end of your work period.

For example: Victor is has to wrap up a project he is currently working on. Victor analyzes the tasks to be completed and finds that he has to:

  1. Prepare a PowerPoint presentation
  2. Create a training document
  3. Email the client

Since Victor has broken down the project closure steps, he knows exactly what needs to be done to complete the project. This will make it easier for him to prioritize his activities for the day (see Eisenhower Decision Matrix).

The Beautiful Details

The Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro technique is a time management method used to increase productivity. The technique combines two basic principles:

  1. Giving your undivided attention for a short period of intensely focused work is more productive than longer periods of work without shielding from distractions
  2. Frequent and planned short breaks can improve metal agility.
Six Simple Steps

There are six stages in the Pomodoro technique:

  1. Decide on the task you would like to accomplish
  2. Set a timer to ring after 25 minutes
  3. Give your undivided full focus to the task, if a distraction pops in your head, write it down and immediately resume the task
  4. When the timer rings add a tally of one
  5. If you have less than 4 check marks, take a 5 minute break and go to step 1
  6. Otherwise (after 4 Pomodoros), reset your tally to zero and take a longer break (15 – 30 minutes), then go to step 1

Step 3 (giving your undivided attention) is the key to making the most of the Pomodoro technique, and completing your tasks in the most efficient manner.

Minimize interruptions

Minimizing interruptions will help you stay focused and complete your tasks sooner.  Here are some tricks to increase your efficiency during a Pomodoro session:

  • Put your phone on silent
  • Turn off any loud background noises (tv, radio etc.)
  • Play quiet, calming music if necessary
  • Log off Social Media
  • Exit applications that are not essential to the current task (if you’re working on a computer)

Have you used the Pomodoro Technique before? I’d like to hear your thoughts on how it worked out for you.

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