This Smart Technique Can Boost Your Daily Productivity

There's nothing more frustrating than being in the middle of a work day and finding that you just can't focus on the task in front of you. Maybe you can't stop thinking about all the tasks on your to-do list, or checking back in on your email, or maybe you're just in an afternoon funk. Fortunately, there's a classic time management technique that can help you channel your energy in short bursts. All you need is a timer to utilize the Pomodoro Technique, a process named after the Italian word for tomato.

As detailed by ToDoIst, the Pomodoro Technique was created in the '80s by college student Francesco Cirillo. Sitting down for a long study session felt overwhelming to Cirillo, but he noticed that just committing to 10 minutes of study felt like much less of a commitment. He grabbed his tomato-shaped kitchen timer and started experimenting. Eventually, he was able to isolate the best length of time to maintain his focus.

The Pomodoro Technique is perfect for people who are easily distracted

The principles of the Pomodoro Technique are simple. As outlined by LifeHacker, you simply set a timer for 25 minutes — a length of time referred to as a pomodoro — and get working. When you're finished, you allow yourself a five minute break. Then you repeat, up to four times, after which you take a longer break of 15-30 minutes. That break is important; Cirillo's website points out that the shorter breaks let your mind rest, while the longer breaks lets your brain take in the information from your hours of work.

While anyone can benefit from using the Pomodoro Technique, there are certain groups for which the productivity method is a particularly good fit. If you're someone who's easily distracted by checking your email, ToDoIst says that the Pomodoro Technique is a great fit for you. LifeHacker reports that the technique is popular with anyone who does creative work, whether that's design, writing, or even software engineering. Being able to have brief periods of deep focus allows them to shut out the world and harness their creativity.

How to get your coworkers onboard

Of course, distractions don't always come in the form of texts and emails. Often, the thing most likely to intrude on your work is other people, whether that's your chatty coworker or your annoying roommate. When someone interrupts your focus time, Cirillo's tactic is simple: inform, negotiate and call back (per Lifehacker). Let the person know you're busy, negotiate a time to get back to them, and get back to them when your session is complete. A prompt follow-up proves to your coworker that when you say, "Give me five minutes," you actually mean it.

And who knows? Maybe the next time you set that 25 minute timer, they'll join you.

Most importantly, figure out the way to make the Pomodoro Technique work for you. The length of your pomodoro isn't set in stone; if you experiment, you might find that 15 minute or 30 minute focus periods fit you better. However long you settle on, the Pomodoro Technique might just be the way you finally finish that big project.