THE POMODORO TECHNIQUE
The first application is a tool that will help boost your discipline and focus your mind on productive work over procrastination and distractions. The now-famous “Pomodoro Technique” was invented by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980’s as a means to aid his university studies. The technique, named after kitchen timer in the shape of a tomato (pomodoro in Italian), is extremely simple and effective. Before beginning working a task or goal for the work is set, such as a batch of emails to answer or a proposal to edit. Then, the timer is set for 25 minutes and everything outside of that specific task is ignored for the duration of the pomodoro. After 25 minutes goes by a short, 3-5 minute break occurs, and then a new pomodoro starts, either on the same task or a new one if the original has been completed. Every four cycles a longer, 15 minute break is taken. The strength of the Pomodoro Technique is its simplicity and straightforwardness: the system allows you to quickly plan out blocks of time to work and then dive right into it without wasting time making extensive outlines and schedules. The small breaks give your mind just enough rest and relaxation so that you can work effectively during the 25 minute pomodoros without giving you a break so long that it interrupts the flow of your work.
If you need to stay updated on a variety of news sources and online publications for your work, or simply in your free time, then you owe it to yourself to use an RSS reader. RSS stands for Rich Site Summary, and allows you to collect information from frequently updated websites like blogs, newsites, or social media accounts. The advantage of using an RSS aggregation program is that all of these disparate items come to you in one easy location instead of forcing you to go to each of them individually. With a feed that is tailored to only include the sites and content that you desire, you can quickly scroll through all of the stories of the day and pick out which ones are of interest and which you can ignore. When it comes to specific RSS readers, there are a host of options to choose from, but one of the best is Feedly, which has a clean, simple interface as well as iPhone, Android, and Chrome apps.
Most of us are extremely busy people, and not just at our day job or small business. Between family obligations, personal errands, and side projects, a person’s to-do list can grow and multiply like the heads of a hydra. Keeping track of everything that’s on your plate, from an hour from now through months away can be a difficult task. This is where WorkFlowy comes in to help; it’s a comprehensive platform for tracking your tasks and items to complete. The application allows you to create tasks, then post sub-tasks under the original ones, sub-sub tasks under those, and so on. This makes it simple to divide and organize your tasks, as well as plan them out by urgency; the report that you need to finish reading for your job can be placed in higher priority than the edits to a paper that aren’t due for two weeks. Tasks are searchable by content, as well as easily exported as text or shared so that others can view or edit them, depending on the author’s preference. As a bonus, WorkFlowy will email you each morning with a recap of what items you added, altered, or completed from the day before so that you can easily recap on your accomplishments and new tasks. The program comes in both free and paid versions, and has apps for iPhone and Android, so you can manage your to-do list no matter where you are. To create a free account head over to https://workflowy.com/.