You have a lot of tasks to do today. You plan your day by breaking down those tasks into sub tasks and allocate some time to each of them. However, while doing those tasks, you run back and forth to check your facebook, telegram or email, watch some videos on youtube and at the end of the day you end up doing less than even a half of what you were supposed to do wondering where time went.
You have a lot of tasks to do today. You are super focused and determined to finish them no matter what. You drink a cup of coffee and start working. You power through your tasks like Flash. You don't care about any other thing: you don't have lunch, dinner and most importantly break. At the end of the day, you are proud of yourself because you did it. However, the next two or three days, you don't feel like doing anything and want to just lay in your bed(listening to Lazy Song by Bruno Mars now). You burnt out! Where did your pride go now? It metamorphosed into regret.
What to do?
I have been to both of those above mentioned scenarios, with studies, work and a little freelancing happening at the same time. In my search for a solution, I ran into the pomodoro technique and it has been a game changer. Now I can focus on my tasks without letting Facebook distract me(at least most of the time) and not get burnt out. There is also a rewarding by-product you get besides productivity: confidence! The reason is that you feel like you are in control of your life and not the other way around.
The technique is in itself pretty simple. You work for 25 minutes only on your task. No Facebook, no email, no youtube, no talking, no nothing but your task. Then you get a 5-minute break. Then, you do three more pomodoros(yes, that 25-minute working period IS pomodoro), giving you 100 minutes of work time and 15 minutes of break. After the fourth pomodoro, you get a longer break: 25 minutes. This is it. This way, your mind remains fresh and focused throughout the day and you won't burn out. But make sure that you get quality break times, i.e. do something that is resting for you. In one of those longer breaks, take a nap. They say you live two days(one and a half at least) instead of one day if you take a nap.
Before using the technique, make sure that you have concrete and important tasks. Without them, the pomodoro will be of no use. Imagine focusing on doing the wrong things. Yikes!
Finish 10 pomodoro a day on average and you can consider yourself a very productive person. It will be even reflected on other areas of your life.
There are lots of web and mobile apps to help you with this. My favourite is Kanbanflow because it has kanban board and the pomodoro timer in one app. More on kanban in later posts.
I hope this post will help someone improve their time-management and productivity skills in the future.