Can a tomato make you more productive?
Hi, I’m Allison Shields Johs, President of Legal Ease Consulting, where I help lawyers create more productive, more profitable, and more enjoyable law practices.
I don’t know about you, but lately I seem to be having a very difficult time focusing and accomplishing what I want to accomplish. I’ve worked from home for many years, but lately I seem to get distracted more easily. Perhaps it’s the pandemic and all of the anxieties that have gone along with it. Or perhaps it’s just Zoom fatigue. Who knows? But whatever the reason, I’m finding I have to fall back on some tips and tricks to help me get things done, and today I’d like to share one of those with you.
That’s where the tomato comes in.
The tip I’d like to talk about today is called the “Pomodoro” technique – pomodoro is the Italian word for tomato. The pomodoro technique was developed by an Italian, and it was named after a timer that looks like a tomato.
Here’s how it works:
First, you decide on the task you want to get done. Then you set a timer for a specific interval of time – traditionally 25 minutes – and you work on the task without any interruption at all for that interval. Once the timer goes off, you can stop and take a 5-minute break. Each interval represents one pomodoro.
In the traditional pomodoro method, you would do four consecutive pomodoros, and then take a longer 15-30 minute break.
If you complete the task while the timer is still ticking, you can use the additional time in the pomodoro to review your work or plan tasks for your next pomodoro. Of course, there are all sorts of variations of this technique, and you might choose to make your pomodoros 60, or even 90 minutes long.
But whatever variation you choose, using this system helps you to focus on the task at hand for a long enough period of time to accomplish something significant, but it is a short enough time that you won’t allow yourself to become distracted. Since you have a break every 25 minutes, you can address anything urgent that might come up in the interim.
For lawyers billing by the hour, using the pomodoro technique is also helpful for ensuring that you are billing your time contemporaneously with the work being performed. But even if you aren’t billing by the hour, using the pomodoro technique is useful for improving your ability to estimate how long it takes you to complete certain tasks, which can help your overall time management.
For me, just the idea of blocking out a discrete segment of time with no distractions has proved useful for moving me forward toward my goals, so I hope it will be useful for you, too.
Again, I’m Allison Shields Johs, from Legal Ease Consulting, wishing you a productive day – and now, since it’s lunchtime, I think I’m going to make myself a BLT!
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