Hello, I’m Michael Sliwinski, founder of Nozbe - to-do app for teams. I write essays, books, work on projects and I podcast for you using #iPadOnly in #NoOffice as I believe that work is not a place you go to, it’s a thing you do.

Pomodoro technique and other simple ways to get focused… now!


Today I quite a productive day… but at one point in time I was so swamped with small tasks that I couldn’t get myself to do the big rocks for the day… I had two very important and quite big tasks related to Nozbe to do today… and the small tasks just seemed more appealing to me… sounds familiar, doesn’t it? I just needed something to get going… and I remembered hearing about a “Pomodoro Techinique” and decided to give it a try:

Pomodoro technique and other simple ways to get focused… now!

It basically goes like this:

Turn off all distractions. Set a task to do and set a timer for 25 minutes. Do it until it rings. Take 5. Read more about it here.

Well, it did the magic. I just started digging into my big task and because I had my timer ticking and counting down, I needed to rush and do the task. It’s like having a deadline and thinking “I can’t blow it!”

And guess what? I did a task in 25 minutes! The whole thing… and I had it scheduled for 3 hours!

OK, maybe I wouldn’t have done it in 3 hours anyway but faster… apparently… but anyway, doing what I thought would be a very tiresome task in just 25 minutes blew me away.

Then I rested for 10 minutes, had a glass of water, and set a timer for the second task.

Again, I did it in record time - it took me around 20 minutes to get it done… again, it was a big thing and it was meant to take me like 2 hours.

I was blown away. And tired. Doing two big things in just one hour was tiring… but felt great.

Why did I manage to be so effective?

  1. I embraced the constraints. I knew I had 25 minutes and wanted to get it done in this record time. I stopped worrying about tools I’d use for the task, about how to approach it, about anything… I just headed straight to the heart of the matter of this task and got it done.

  2. I didn’t think about details or distractions. I focused on the task only, I turned off my email, twitter and other stuff. I didn’t have time for these things.

What do I use as my “Pomodoro Timer”?

I use free software called MacTimer - it works great, I set it for 25 minutes, it runs and screams when it’s done. Perfect for this technique.

These quick and dirty productivity techniques like Pomodoro are awesome

My friend Ivan Hernandez talks about two more simple productivity techniques, so head over to his blog for a full review of them.

Did you try any of these? Did you try Pomodoro? Does it work for you? I’m going to be using more pomodoro from now on!