Part of working in a creative industry is learning how to structure your day in a way that helps you get things done. A new method I have put to the test is the Pomodoro Technique. After one week of using this technique I have made great strides in increasing my daily productivity, so read on and learn how to apply this technique to your work day. Be sure to download your free weekly planner sheet too!
What is the Pomodoro Technique?
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method developed in the 1980’s by Francesco Cirillo. The technique uses a timer to break down work into 25 minute intervals separated by 5 minute breaks. These 30 minute long units are referred to as “pomodoros”. After 3-4 pomodoros, you take a 30 minute long break.
The Pomodoro Technique is centered around 5 principles:
- Decide on one task to be done
- Set your timer to 25 minutes
- Work on the task until the timer rings
- Take a short break
- Take a longer break every 3-4 pomodoros
There are two important takeaways from the Pomodoro Technique
- First it trains you to understand how long tasks will take you to complete. This is a great skill to develop regardless of the industry you are in!
- Second, it forces you to establish a distraction-free workspace. Learning to minimize distractions throughout the day will enable you to be increasingly more productive over time.
How I Worked Before
Before using a timer-based structure, I tended to work on a huge assortment of things during the day; constantly switching between tasks and working late into the night. At the end of the day when I finally put my computer away I would always feel like I could have gotten more done. This left me in a constant state of anxiety, feeling like I was running on a treadmill and never moving forward with my long-term goals. I would also push creatively-intensive tasks to the end of the day, after I had cleared out my inbox and client needs. This made it almost impossible to get creative work done because I was exhausted from the day already. I also struggled to consistently track my time and this made it difficult to estimate how long it would take me to complete certain tasks.
Using the Pomodoro Technique
The first few days of implementing this method were rough and I definitely struggled to stay focused on a single task. It was hard to dive into my most challenging tasks early in the day and it was hard for me to take deliberate breaks throughout the day.
However, I managed to get much more done than usual, especially writing. I often pushed writing for my email and blog to the end of the day, and I would slog through them, struggling to overcome my writers block. By inverting my daily schedule and tackling writing just after my daily coffee kicked in, I was able to write easily and fluidly. Then I could ride that productivity wave all day.
My Daily Work Routine
9:00 - 10:30 Large Writing Tasks
10:30 - 11:00 Morning Break or Simple Tasks
11:00 - 12:30 Client Work
12:30 - 1:30 Lunch Break
1:30 - 3:00 Client Work
3:00 - 3:30 Afternoon Break or Simple Tasks
3:30 - 5:00 Business Tasks
I was amazed at how many large, creative tasks I was able to accomplish this week so I will definitely continue to use this method! This week wasn’t perfect, and training yourself to balance daily and long term tasks takes practice. I am also tracking my energy levels throughout the day so that I can schedule challenging tasks when my energy level is highest.
To help plan out my weekly tasks I created a printable planner sheet that I want to share with you!
Get your planner sheet as well as access to dozens of other design and business resources in The Library!
Have you ever tried the Pomodoro Technique?