Summer can really do a doozy on your productivity because sometimes it feels like everyone is out there having fun while you’re stuck at your desk! While at times that may actually be true, this is when you have to stop and remember that it’s a GIFT that we get run your own businesses, our own lives, and create true financial freedom for ourselves and our families. I <3 ENTREPRENEURSHIP!!
I know what you’re thinking…” Yep, that’s all true Julie, but I still can’t stay focused!!” Ha! I feel your pain!!
Research has shown that adult learners can stay focused for about 45 minutes at a time, so try working in 45 minute blocks (turn off your social media notifications!), and then take a 15 minute break. Stand up, take a short walk, and drink a glass of water. Staying hydrated solves half of the problem, so don’t skip that step.
And if you’re really struggling, drop it down to 25 minutes! There is actually a time management method called the “Pomodoro Technique” that has you set a tomato shaped kitchen timer (“pomodoro” is tomato in italian, hence the name) for 25 minutes followed by a short break. This creates a little game with yourself and makes time management a lot more fun and PRODUCTIVE!
Now that you’re armed with a couple of productivity troubleshooting tools, REPLY and tell how you manage your time. Do you use a tomato? I want to know! :)
Ha! That is something I already do, I just didn't know it had a name. My timer implementation also has some variations.
I use my phone's timer. So instead of alternating between 15 and 25, I just do 15 and 15. Also instead of something fun, I use those 15 minutes to clean my house. So I still feel like I am doing something productive and I can actually SEE the progress I am making. With the projects I find myself doing for actual work, I often find it difficult to see the progress I have made, so having that positive affirmation is really nice. Doing this also has the added benefit of MAKING me get out of my chair. I get tunnel vision, so if I am not careful, I will get too deep in my work and my husband will come home to find I have not moved from my chair in 8 plus hours. (It has happened more than once)
Sometimes I will set a goal for myself. I want to get through 'x' before my next timer goes off. So that in and of itself becomes almost like a game.
Using my phone's timer has the added benefit of not stopping until you stop it. Which means I can put it across the room and it will FORCE me to stop what I am doing. This keeps me from getting distracted and never moving from my desk. I used to use an Online Google Timer, but it will stop going off after about a minute. I know that. So, if I really just want to finish up this one last thing, I will let it go until it stops and then I will forget it went off. And then I won't move or take any breaks. I just get lost in my work.
If I am having an impossible time concentrating or I am not feeling "up to snuff," as my Granny used to say, I will use the 15 minute cleaning time to play with my dog or bunny. Or depending on how I feel, to just do something fun and/or relaxing. (My favorite thing to do is to climb into my indoor hammock and read.) I try not to do that too much though because it is way too easy to let that take over my day.
I love this stuff, Julie. I recently came back from my advanced yoga teacher training after a week of studying the nervous system and the brain. It was fascinating!
I am away at the Intuit Council meeting this week, but I am going to implement this Pomodoro method when I get back to my office. It makes sense, right?
On a side note, around 4pm, if I don't have a customer meeting/training, I do one restorative yoga pose. I shut off the devices, set a timer and chill out. Most involve me lying over a rolled blanket or on a couple of yoga blocks. Both are counter poses to tech neck. 15 mins are all you need. With the rolled blanket one, you roll it tight like a taquito roll and place it under the shoulder tips; the head is back on the floor but it makes the heart higher than the head. Nourishing for the soul! :cathappy:
I love it too @lynda!! Yes, try the Pomodoro Technique when you get back and let me know if it helps. I imagine that when you combine it with meditation and yoga, you will be both peaceful and unstoppable! :)
Lynda, can I ask what interested you most about joining M2$1M? Are you excited about getting your firm to $1M (or more!)? I have a really good feeling about what is possible for you... Standing by! J.
I love that you are forcing yourself to MOVE YOUR BODY! I know exactly what you mean @Pen, I can get so focused that I lose all track of time, and before I know it, hours and hours have passed (bi-product of doing what you love!).
My only question is about 15 minutes. For me, that would be too short. There is a Harvard study that talks about "switching time" meaning the time it takes the brain to start, stop, and refocus everytime we change activities. The study basically debunks multitasking, but it doesn't sound you are multitasking during your 15-minute segments, so you may not be affected.
Either way, I love that you have a system, and making sure you move is... MAGICAL!
I often do multitask. I am currently studying for the Advanced Proadvisor Certification and I am teaching myself HTML. I will generally switch between work and studies. I alternate days between HTML and the Certification.
So I will do 15 minutes of work. 15 minutes of cleaning. 15 minutes of study.
I have found that if I do too much in the study department at once, my brain will get bogged down and I will stall out. But if I flip back and forth between something I am familiar with and learning something new, I do great!
I will experiment with the times though. Instead of 15 minutes, for the rest of this week, I will try it at 20, next week will be 25 and after that, I will push it to 30. For this initial experiment, I will keep my clean up timer set to 15 minutes. But after this initial round, I will experiment with that too. I will keep a little mini-journal of findings and post about each it week to let you know what I figure out. Granted it will be what works best for me, but mayhaps it will help someone else to find a rhythm too... Or at the least encourage them to experiment too. I do so love a good experiment.
Hi Julie! Beautiful, sunny days are usually the most difficult to stay focused for me. I love being outdoors so I really have to set firm goals for early in the day when I am most productive if I'm going to get anything accomplished. I work a 2-hour slot and then an hour in the evening for a daily wrap up if I have time. The wrap-up is for anything that I can get done quickly or that I may have missed.
@Pen, your energy is AMAZING and INSPIRING!! I'm excited to hear about your experiment and which time allocation ultimately creates the best outcome for you. Be sure to determine the criteria for success so you'll know if it made a difference or not... Now give that bunny a scratch or two for me! :)
P.S. Let's circle back on this next week!
@ElaineTay-TGW, I'm with you! Sunny days call my name and require an over-and-above commitment to keeping my head down! I love the idea of a designated "Wrap Up Hour". This signals your brain to move to completion, which will probably reduce those 3 AM unwanted Board of Director's meetings entrepreneurs are always telling me they struggle with!! Ugh! Nice work!! :)
OMG LOVE IT!! Saving the world, one tomato at a time!!!! Keep us posted @EmilyCowan!!
Ok, first of all: I just spent $7.59 on a Tomato Timer, because I really need this in my life.
Secondly, there is also an online Tomato Timer that let's you toggle between settings for "Pomodoro" (25 minutes), "Short Break," and "Long Break."