Great Tool to Help End Procrastination

December 15, 2009 at 10:48 AM (Productivity) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

When I talk about procrastination, I talk from years of experience.  I’m the guy who will write a 5 page paper less than 24 hours before it’s due, even though I had the assignment for over 3 months.  My wife still makes fun of me for getting her a moose ornament one Christmas (exchanging ornaments is a tradition we have) because I waited till the last minute (it had a nice little message on it, by the way).

I’ve procrastinated just about everything, but now I’ve found something that helps me stay focused and get work done.  Its called the Pomodoro Technique.  It’s really simple to learn, but extremely effective if used.  The idea is to have 25 minutes of focused work, then you get 5 minutes of break time.  These numbers aren’t fixed, but they do work well for most people, the idea is your focused work should be significantly greater than your break time.

To go along with this I found a free App you can download for your computer, which will help you stay on topic, and off Facebook and Twitter.  Its called the Focus Booster.  It is a simple countdown timer that always sits at the top of your screen, meaning it is never in the background, always in the front and visible no matter what screen you’re using.  It can be set to almost any time periods and can be extremely effective.

Here’s how to use it.  I recommend using Parkinson’s Law along with it.  Parkinson’s Law states “that a task will swell in importance and complexity in relation to the time allotted for its completion.”  This means essentially that deadlines matter.  Essentially if you give yourself a shorter deadline, say 25 minutes for a task, if you crack down on focus you can likely complete it in that time period.  Obviously you can’t do everything this way, like rebuild a ’70 Camero in 40 minutes.  But if you set a realistic, maybe a little short deadline, and crack down, you will get more completed in less time.

I use the Focus Booster two ways.  1: I keep my ToDo list right next to me, set the timer for 25 minutes, and start hacking away.  2: I will set a time for a specific task, say 10 minutes to write a blog post, click start, and get it done.  Simple as that, and yet enormously helpful.

Try it, experiment with it, and post how you use it below for others to learn from.  This is something no one should be without.   Good luck, and God bless.

Get the Focus Booster

Learn more about the Pomodoro Technique

4-Hour Workweek for more on improving productivity and cutting back on work time.

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