How to Ramp Up Productivity with 30-Minute Sprints
By Sandy Schroeder
Most of us stay connected using our phones to keep work projects and communications moving, but that electronic ease can become a distraction when we are focusing on specific tasks. Reports, writing, research, and planning all take some concentration if we want the product to be first rate.
Business Insider took a look at this problem and suggested using 30-minute work sessions to sharpen the focus and get the job done. Known as the Pomodoro technique, this time-management approach asks you to focus on the specific task for 25 minutes and then take a 5 minute break.
- Define the task you want to accomplish
- Set a timer for 25 minutes
- Turn off the phone and email and only work on the task at hand
- After 25 minutes take a 5 minute break
- When you do four of these sessions, take a longer break afterwards.
What 30-Minute Time Slots Do
At first this approach may seem unnecessary, but as you put it to the test you may begin to see the benefits.
Multitasking takes a hike - When you shut down email and turn off the phone the runway is completely clear to launch a task and make it soar. Instead of bouncing around, convincing yourself that multitasking really works, you can focus completely on the task at hand to push it on through.
Work becomes a sprint - Instead of strolling along in a relaxed, semi-productive work mode all day, you are now doing short sprints with breaks at the end. This approach often helps people pick up speed to turn out a lot more work.
How to Make This Happen
- Turn off desktop notifications
- Donâ€™t use your phone timer which may pull you into other tasks
- Work in a quiet closed space where you wonâ€™t be disturbed
- Use the 30 minutes to dial in on the task at hand
Take a Test Run
Pick some of your regular work projects and estimate how much time you devote to them each week.
- Marketing reports
- Writing or scripting special presentations
- Project overviews or detailed plans
- Other complex assignments that require concentration
Use the 30-minute breakout for these tasks for a week and see where you stand. Some people say they can produce the same amount of work in half the time. I worked with a woman who used this approach a lot. She moved around interacting with everyone often, but then she would shut her door and pound out a big batch of work in short order.
However the method works for you, short focused chunks of time without interruptions may prove to be one more way to get the job done well.
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