A habit that change my life was the one of mindfulness (an article soon on the blog) – training my attention to be here, now. It is work in progress and a reminder that sometimes you need to be mind over matter. As part of my daily training, I added some productivity tasks in order to be able to train.
In our rushing from one point to another daily life, time is the essence – and in order to do as many as possible things at work and in my private time, organization is the key. At work per example, I spend 45 minutes doing one thing – let’s say writing an article for the company website, designing a training or reading on a topic I need preparation on. For 45 minutes, my time, attention and all my actions are focus on that topic, and only that. When time is up, a walk, water refill, a straw on the terrace or some social media for the next 15 minutes helps the brain relax. If the topic is not finish and it can wait, then I get the next one on my list and start working for the next 3 quarters of an hour. Why the joggle between tasks? Because creativity works best when challenged, and changing the topic is a new opportunity for muscle flexing.
After two days like this you will be able to cut a lot from the “TO DO” list – because, even if you don’t believe we have many dead times when we let our focus escape. And not finishing a task adds to the stress and accordingly to the researcher being stress kills us.
For me productivity is something learned the hard way – being a person that likes to be involved in a lot of activities I ended up in screwing some of them and started to lose my sleep over the things that were urgent. So after reading a lot on the subject and trying some activities of mindfulness in order to keep my thought here and now – results showed up. And now, with less stress on my mind I get done twice the things I did before. Sometimes I even have time to practice something new.
So start with a list of things you need to do. Prioritize them. Now start doing the first thing there, in order to get to the 45 minutes I mention in the beginning, start with the Pomodoro Technique. What is it? The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo. It uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by 5 minutes breaks. These intervals are named pomodoros, the plural in English of the Italian word pomodoro (english tomato), after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer that Cirillo used as a university student. You can find apps to time your working intervals or use, like Cirillo did a kitchen clock from Ikea.
After some time you can raise the bar to 35 minutes, with 10 minutes break and go up to 45 minutes. But that is the high you should go, brain needs resets, it is a machine and need time to cool down. If whatever you do takes more than 45 minutes, just stop and take a break after this interval. On your break, even if they are of 5 or 15 minutes don’t stay near the computer, at your desk, take a walk, go and smoke a cigarette (if that is your thing), get yourself a glass of water, or a cup of coffee :D. Allow your body and mind a 15 minutes breath-out: it will boost your creativity and you see the results in two or three days. In order to stay focus for the interval of working, read as well this article on mindfulness.