Using a Tomato to Manage Your Time
|| BY Penny Catterall ON February 23, 2014
Managing our time is often one of the most difficult tasks we have today. Distractions and interruptions can constantly occur, especially in this age of instant communication. Emails, phone calls, Facebook posts, Tweets and so many other diversions can make it extremely hard to stay focused on the task at hand and complete the work that you know has to be done.
One time management method that has worked well for me is the Pomodoro Technique, invented by Francisco Cirillo in the 1980s. Named for the Italian word for the tomato-shaped kitchen timer, the Pomodoro Technique breaks down work into 25-minute intervals separated by 5-minute breaks. The theory behind the Pomodoro Technique is that focusing intently on a designated task for specific periods of time, while taking short, scheduled breaks in between, both minimizes distractions and prevents burnout from working too long on any one thing. It also helps eliminate multi-tasking, which has been shown to lower the overall quality of work produced. The soft ticking that comes with most Pomodori apps, including the Pomodoro timer itself, acts as a sort of white noise that helps keep you focused on the task at hand.
There are six basic steps to implementing the technique:
- Choose a task to be done and decide to devote yourself fully to it for 25 minutes with no distractions.
- Set the pomodoro timer to 25 minutes and make a promise to yourself to stick to your task.
- Work on the task until the timer rings. If, during that time, you learn of or remember something else that needs to be done, jot it down on a piece of paper so that you can come back to it later.
- When the timer rings, put a checkmark on a piece of paper and congratulate yourself!
- Take a short break (3-5 minutes) – walk around, have a glass of water, meditate, or do something else relaxing (no reading email!)
- After every four “pomodori,” take a longer break of 20–30 minutes. This gives your brain a chance to assimilate new information and rest before the next set of pomodori.
To learn more about how the Pomodoro Technique works, visit their website here. Think about all the other ways you can also use this method to accomplish a long-delayed goal: get a household chore done, clean out your closet, have your kids clean up their rooms (followed by a fun break time), pay your bills, file a stack of papers – whatever you can think of that you have been putting off! It’s only 25 minutes – you can do it!
|| BY Penny Catterall ON February 19, 2014
Learn some simple phone negotiation tricks that can save you hundreds over the long run!
|| BY Penny Catterall ON February 17, 2014
Swifty is a super fast menubar item for Macs that gives you access to your email, Twitter direct messages and Facebook messages in seconds. You can also send out message from this menubar app.
Fuel Your Run
|| BY Penny Catterall ON February 14, 2014
For the avid runners and marathoners, a great app to use while out on your runs is the Fuel My Run app. You input your exercise information into the app, such as distance, and then the app will remind you when you need to drink water in order to maximize your run.
Subtract One Thing From Your To-Do List
|| BY Penny Catterall ON February 12, 2014
Feel like you’re never able to tackle the huge mountain that is your to-do list? You should start subtracting one thing immediately from your list when you’re feeling overwhelmed, continually adding items won’t help, and taking one item off will help you feel more productive.
|| BY Penny Catterall ON February 10, 2014
Ever get frustrated with your phone when you want to change a song, but then you have to switch from one app to another, interrupting what you were doing beforehand? With SidePlayer for Androids, you can have access to your music files from any app, which makes it possible to switch songs from within other apps.
|| BY Penny Catterall ON February 7, 2014
Need to sign into two accounts in one browser? Instead of repeatedly signing in and out of each or opening several incognito tabs and windows, use the extensions Multifox for Firefox or Multi-Account Login in for Chrome.
|| BY Penny Catterall ON February 5, 2014
It’s that cold and flu season, meaning more and more people are getting sick. The Sickweather app tracks high levels of sickness in specific areas in your city, it does this my mining social media and GPS location, bringing to you a map of the most infectious places wherever you are.
Organize Your To-Do List by Energy
|| BY Penny Catterall ON February 3, 2014
There thousands of ways to organize a to-do list, one way you may not have thought of is ranking them by energy. That you can see what you need to accomplish at any energy level that you’re at.
Learn to Use Spotlight Search
|| BY Penny Catterall ON January 31, 2014
Our smartphones are powerful technology, but frequently we don’t know how to utilize them efficiently. Especially email, but there is an easy way for iOS devices to pull up the searched for email quicker with spotlight. Learn how to use it on Apple’s support page!