Concentration is a hard thing to come by when you’re working from a home office. It takes a lot of discipline, and some days are harder than others. Just like in any other job you love there are going to be days when you feel really enthusiastic about what you’re working on and you just can’t be torn away from it. Other days you will find yourself distracted by things like social networking, TV, or other tasks you have to do around the house. Even if you’re truly passionate about what you do, you’re not going to be able to focus every single day.
The freedom of working from home comes with the cost of external pressures. Yes, if you have a deadline to meet on a project your client is holding you to it, but they’re not your boss in the traditional sense. When it comes down to it, the only person who is truly holding you accountable every singe day is you, and it’s pretty easy to, well, go easy on yourself.
I’ve recently taken in interest in what’s known as the Pomodoro Technique. My friend and fellow freelance designer Kyle Adams had mentioned it to me in the past, but I put off integrating it into how I work for quite a while. Finally, my curiosity got the better of me and I started out this week, and this is the first blog post I’ve written using Pomodoro. After a few days it’s already changed how I’ve been working.
The Pomodoro Technique is pretty easy to follow. You work for 25 minutes, then take a 5-minute break. Repeat, but take a 15-minute break every 4th break. Easy as pie. But I highly suggest using a timer or software designed for Pomodoro. I use Duha for iPhone which keeps some simple but interesting stats.
One of the changes I’ve noticed is that I find it easier to focus on bad days, and thusly have become more productive. One thing I do now when I’m working is quit every app that’s not directly related to what I’m working on, except for iTunes if I’m listening to music. For the whole 25-minute block of time I’m focused solely on what’s getting done. When the 25 minutes are up I can then check email, or catch up on Twitter, talk with friends, maybe play a quick round of Alto’s Adventure.
When I’m having a day where I’m feeling very enthusiastic however, Pomodoro serves an entirely different purpose; to keep me from getting lost. It’s easy for me to so into what I’m doing when I’m feeling very enthusiastic that I sometimes forget about the rest of the world. Pomodoro has got me away from my desk on a regular basis, which is both mentally and physically healthy.
I plan on using the Pomodoro Technique for the foreseeable future. It’s benefitted me a great deal in just these past few days and I think I may start branching it out to other areas of my life. I’ve found it to be a great way to improve productivity, and it actually allows me to get more done during the day. I’m my own boss, and Pomodoro has made me more effective in that role.