The Pomodoro Technique

Out of all the time management and productivity tips I've ever received, I don't think I've ever found one as useful as the Pomodoro Technique.

There's an entire book and training system that explains this technique in great detail, and it demonstrates the thinking behind why it's so effective, but to save you even more time...

I'll explain how I have implemented it in my business for the past several years.

A Pomodoro is a 25-minute block of laser-focused work time followed by a 5-minute break.

The key word being laser-focused.

No distractions. Interruptions are the enemy of productivity.

  • I've set it so I have to check my email manually on both my phone and computer, so emails don't randomly come trickling in all day long.
  • I've turned off all social media alerts, I'll see the red dot the next time I log into Facebook... I don't need a special alert to let me know someone liked my post.
  • If my wife is home, I'll even put my phone into airplane mode so I don't receive calls or text messages during these blocks (if my wife is out, I leave my phone on just in case she needs me, but she has a special ring and text tone so if it's not her, I just ignore it).

My goal is to string 4 of them together twice a day. One 2 hour block in the morning, and one 2 hour block after lunch when my daughter is napping.

If you do the math, that's less than 4 hours of actual working time, but on days where I manage to complete 8 Pomodoros, I am more productive than days that I work for 6 or 8 hours bouncing from task to task and dealing with constant interruptions.

I have a Pomodoro timer app... or you can use a manual egg timer. (These timers are cool)

When I am ready to begin, I start my Self Control app (which blocks Facebook and Twitter for the next 2 hours), start the timer and get to work!

A typical day looks something like this:

7:00 - Wake up & get my daughter ready for school, make her breakfast, etc... 

8:00 - Drop her off at school, hit the gym (or do a home workout depending on the day, shower.

I try to start my first block around 10:15 (no later than 10:30 because I have to leave to pick up my daughter at 12:30).

  • Pom #1 - Ketology emails
  • Pom #2 - Ketology social media plan
  • Pom #3 - Update Ketology course
  • Pom #4 - Photoshop images for Amy's album

During the 5 minute breaks between Pomodoros, it's important not to check email or social media. Those have a way of sucking you in and getting you off track. I typically refill my water, use the restroom, kiss my wife and baby, and maybe do 1 set of something (push ups, pull ups, curls, whatever)

At 12:30, I head out to pick up my daughter from school, we're home by 1:25, she plays for a half hour and then she goes down for a nap around 2, at which point I'll try to do 4 more Pomodoro's:

  • Pom #5 - Work on Pomodoro blog post
  • Pom #6 - Work on Pomodoro blog post
  • Pom #7 - Coach Becker (work on client's websites)
  • Pom #8 - Coach Becker (work on client's websites)

After that... I feel super accomplished and anything else I accomplish that day is a bonus, but I try to spend as much time as possible with my kids before they go to bed.

I often reply to emails while my wife and I are watching Netflix in the evening. My goal is to empty my inbox completely each night before I go to bed. (I also check my email in the morning when my daughter is eating breakfast, then I'll also check it around lunchtime after I've completed my morning block of Pomodoros).

Each night before I go to bed, I review my plans for the coming day and try to pencil in what I'd like to accomplish in each Pomodoro. It changes daily based on what I have going on.

On days that I have coaching calls, I count those as 1 or 2 Pomodoros depending on how long the call lasts.

Larger projects that can tend to feel overwhelming, are easily managed if I am able to set aside 2-3 Pomodoros a day to work on them.

You're not going to redo your entire website in one afternoon, so break it up into smaller bite-sized chunks and do it a little at a time.

Remember slow progress is still progress!

Watch this 2-minute clip to give you a better sense how the Pomodoro Technique can help you eliminate distractions and become more productive: 

If you have any questions or comments about this technique, hit me up in my FB group.

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