I am a big fan of timers. I’ve used them regularly throughout the past ten years, as gentile reminders to make sure certain tasks get done on time at RocklandWeb.
If you watch the above video, you’ll note that I use an app on my Windows and Android devices called Focus To-Do. It’s a great and lightweight app that allows you to set multiple timers over the course of minutes and hours of your day. It can be used for business or personal endeavors.
One of the best features of the Focus To-Do app is called the Pomodoro timer. Here’s a screenshot of some of my timers today:
The Pomodoro method teaches us to take tasks, and break them down into 25 minute segments of work. Then, take a 5 minute break, do another 25 minute block of work, and so on. You can learn more about the specific method at this Wikipedia article.
After 4 consecutive timers, we take a 30 minute break. Step away from the computer! Get up, stretch your legs, go outside, do some exercise, make a snack, read a book, call a friend, play a video game, or plan for the next set of Pomodoros. It’s quite re-invigotating.
Each full Pomodoro round lasts 2 hours and 30 minutes – less than 2 hours of work (actually 1 hour 40 min), and 30 minutes of breaktime (actually 50 min). If you can discipline yourself for 2-4 of these over the course of any day – I can personally assure you that you will get a huge amount of productivity! THis can be applied to your work, to your personal life, or to a combination of both. At least within this space – you become more of a master of your time.
The Focus To-Do timer had a great interface for setting the Pomodoro timers. You can add tasks – and assign a certain number of “Pomodoros” to the task (for instance: 3 pomodoros = three 25 minute segments of work toward a particular task = 1:15.)
You can also customize the timers to make each pomodoro longer or shorter. I personally set my pomodoros by default to 12 minutes. After 12 minutes, I get up and do a quick workout on my Bowflex, for 1-2 minutes, and then come back to work for another 12 minutes on the same task I left, until it gets done.
The Pomodoro method is also one that allows very high-energy people such as myself to stay focused on the items at hand. One of the more difficult things about high-energy individuals (Robin Williams being the best example that I can think of – see below video) is that they quickly move from topic to topic, task to task.
On the plus side, a lot of things can get done. On the downside, if we forget a few details as we’re working on that task, it becomes a challenge to return to it later – because the details have escaped us. So it’s important to have a technological, yet simple tool – to help us with these potential pitfalls, and stay on target.
At its best, properly focusing on a task can lead to innovations, achievements and braveries that have transformed our moden society. I know that right now, as Scientists are methodically researching a vaccine for this terrible COVID-19 virus, many other individuals are working together in high energy environments to treat those that are suffering from the illness. Thank you, First Responders.
In conclusion – the Focus To-do timer, in conjunction with Pomodoro method is a great way of staying productive throughout your workday.