Friday, January 8, 2016

The Pomodoro Approach

We are off to a strong start for 2016! For a non-profit organization the first and last month of each year are packed full of yearly planning, goal setting, immediate tasks, urgent deadlines, along with state and federal requirements. Long days and long hours are typically the name of the game.

This year we are trying a new approach to work. It's called The Pomodoro Approach and my friend Jim Butski (as well as Laurie) introduced me to it. it's designed to maximize effectiveness while minimizing work hours and potential burn out. It is a very simple, but brilliant approach to work. Basically you turn off everything that may interupt or distract you from FOCUSED WORK (cell phones, social media, even your fellow workers) for 25 minutes and throw yourself completely into ONE TASK. After 25 minutes of monomaniacal work you enter a checkmark on a sheet of paper and take a 5 minute break. That 30 minute time frame is considered 1 "Pomodoro". After 4 Pomodoros you take a 15 minute break. Many times the breaks actually feel like interruptions to the work that is being accomplished, but they actually allow the brain to have a quick recovery break and prevent burnout. It is sort of like how many athletes workout with interval training. They run hard for a few minutes and then take a quick "cool down" recovery break. Each Pomodoro actually feels like a 25 minute race to get as much done as possible... then you take a 5 minute break. After your 5 minute break, it's back to FOCUSED WORK... or if you have other responsibilities that you have to tend to then you may have to move on to meetings, phone calls, multitasking, etc. The theory is that we can get about 40 hours of work done in about 17 hours when we remove all distractions, throw ourselves "all-in" to one task at a time, accumulate a lot of satisfying check marks, and take quick recovery breaks.

This is only our 5th day of using this approach to work, but the intial results have been extraordinary. I absolutely LOVE IT!

I want to thank Jim for sending me the following link that spelled out The Pomodoro Approach and pass it on to you guys if it may help you be more productive at work. Have a great day!