Set a timer for half an hour or so, ignore all distractions, and focus on your work.
On the surface, it seems far too simple to be effective.
But it does work. Amazingly well.
In fact, I can pinpoint the exact moment my novel-writing career took off a few years ago. It happened right after I adopted the Pomodoro Technique.
Once I started using a timer, eliminating distractions, and tracking my results, everything changed.
My writing speed more than doubled.
Before, it would take me more than a year to write a book. Once I started using the Pomodoro Technique every day, that dropped to about six months. (I’m even faster now, because of other efficiencies I’ve adopted.)
The main benefit of the technique, obviously, is that it focuses you on the task at hand. That alone makes you more productive.
But there are other hidden benefits.
Every half hour, you are forced to take a five-minute break. It might not seem all that important. But these breaks are crucial.
I’ve had countless new ideas just by getting up and walking away from my desk when the timer goes off. I don’t know why it works, but it does.
And there’s another often-overlooked benefit of the technique.
It keeps a lid on perfectionism.
I have a bad habit of spending too much extra time on a project in an effort to get it “just right”. But standing up and walking away from my computer every half-hour gives me much-needed perspective.
When the timer rings, I ask myself if it’s time to call a project finished and move on to the next. That keeps me mindful of where I spend my time.
One big disadvantage of the technique:
It feels rigid and constrictive, at least in the beginning. Because it is. But once you get the hang of it, it’s also liberating, because you can get things done so much faster.
When you first start with the technique, it can also be immensely frustrating to find yourself constantly interrupted by others who don’t “get it.” But you can train them. It will get better.
The Pomodoro Technique will revolutionize the way you work.
As long as you stick with it. It’s that simple.
It really is the key to unlocking maximum results from your efforts every day.
By the way, the idea behind the Pomodoro Technique is nothing new. Back in the 1950s and 1960s, one of the most famous real-life “Mad Men” of all time, Eugene Schwartz, used a timer constantly. He cranked his way through writing nine books and countless ads and magazine articles, all a half-hour at a time.
This stuff is powerful. It really works. If you want to give it a try, here’s the book.
P.S. Here’s my favorite timer of all, a cube timer. I’ve used it happily for years.