We are plagued with distraction. We know that we need to be productive to reach our dreams. But we keep on checking our phones for social media updates or that “casual browsing break” for online shopping. How can we battle this distraction tug of war to improve our freelancing career?
One way to battle distraction is through the Pomodoro technique.
It Plays on How Our Minds Work
No, we’re not eating pasta. The Pomodoro technique was discovered by Francesco Cirillo during the 1980s. In a nutshell, you breakdown your tasks into bite-sized 25-min “Pomodoro sessions” and taking a 5-minute break in between.
Based on research by Princeton University and the University of California, Berkeley, our minds work in bursts of attention. Think about a video clip. It comprises multiple pictures stitched together to produce a recorded moving motion.
Our minds are the same. It scans for the most important information around 4 times per second. So if you are working for 25 minutes straight, it’s like combining that 4 times per second in a span of 25 minutes.
It is useful during ancient times because we need to be aware of the information around us. A predator might attack us, or a natural disaster might be looming our way. It can spell the difference between surviving or not.
In modern times, it protects us from accidents. But the hyperactive scanning of our brain gets us distracted with all the information present around us.
Why the Pomodoro Technique Works
It plays on how our minds are designed. We are easily distracted because there is so much information to process around us. And our brain chooses to do the most satisfying one. For example, social media induces spikes of dopamine, the “happy hormone.” So we are easily distracted by every social media notification ring we can get.
The Pomodoro technique stops that. The timer tells our brain that for this 25-minutes, this is the most important task in front of you. This is what you should be doing.
And in case we get cues for distractions, it’s easy to say, “I’ll finish this first. After all, it’s just 25 minutes.” And your 5-minute break is like your reward for doing the task well.
This is How You Do It:
Now, what’s left is actually to use it. This is how.
- First, get a Pomodoro Timer. It can be a traditional Pomodoro timer or an app on your devices such as the Pomotodo App or the Forest App.
- Start the timer for 25-minutes. You have to focus on just your task for that time — no phones, no social media. Just your task.
- After the 25-minute Pomodoro, you can rest for 5-minutes.
- You can do whatever you want in your well-deserved 5 minutes. It can be a quick browse on social media. A 5-minute game. Gobble up something in 5 minutes. Anything you want!
- Take note, after every 4 Pomodoros, you can take longer breaks (around 15minutes to 30 minutes) to help you relax for the next cycle.
- And repeat the Pomodoro cycle again.
Yes, it’s that easy! Right now, try out the Pomodoro technique and see the difference in your productivity. Good luck!