Tools to keep distractions from derailing your work load and take you off track.
You may have been posed with the following question, “How do you eat an elephant?”
The answer: One bite at a time.
While the answer may sound rhetorical it makes a lot of sense. When you are confronted by an enormous task, it is best practice to tackle one piece at a time.
This is the primary principle behind a productivity tool called the Pomodoro technique. This technique originated in the 1980’s and could be considered a cousin to the Getting Things Done productivity tool.
Both GTD, and Pomodoro conclude that having too many tasks, or a large task can lead to a lack of productivity or progress. The idea is that if a task seems impossible or there is too much work, frustration and anxiety prevent any meaningful progress.
By separating the work into bite sized pieces, the assignment gets completed since it was digested into smaller chunks.
Let’s take a quick look at these two popular productivity methods and help you get your work done, and avoid the distractions.
The Pomodoro Technique calls for setting a 25-minute timer then taking a 3-4 minute break. After 3 Pomodoro’s or periods of working you take a longer 15-minute break.
This method of productivity is like the Couch to 5K training program where you set and achieve small goals in order to achieve the large goal of completing a 5k
There are many options for your timer, an egg timer, a smart phone app. Once the timer has been set, the rest is up to you. You must be disciplined enough to work during your working period, and rest during your resting time.
What you want to avoid is getting distracted during your working time and working during your rest time.
If 25 minutes is too hard to begin with try doing a 15-minute work period, but shorten the break time to 1-2 minutes, then build up to 25 minutes.
Getting Things Done
The Getting Things Done method is very popular. It borrows from the Pomodoro technique but isn’t focused on specific time limits, but instead employs analytical and critical thinking. Hold on, before you click away, it is easer then you might think.
You start by making a list.
Then you review the list and assign a priority to the items on the list.
Then you complete the tasks with the highest level of priority first, then you tackle the items further down the list.
If new items come up, you add them to the list, then again you review them and if necessary you reassign the priority.
By dividing, reviewing and prioritizing your work. You begin to Get Things Done and can see the progress as it unfolds.
This helps to alleviate the anxiety and stress of too much work, with the sense of accomplishment and momentum that is associated with accomplishing your goals.
Whether you choose the Pomodoro Technique, Getting Things Done, or one of the other myriad of productivity tools out there. You need to pick the one that you will use. Don’t pick the most popular method if you won’t follow it.
Working from home has put us all in a scenario where we have both work and home competing for our time. We used to have the physical separation to keep us focused on work when we were at work, and home when we were at home. Now that there is a blur due to most of us working form home, it is more difficult to fight the distractions.
Here’s wishing you a great week, and checking off your to do list, so you can go into the weekend relaxed.
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