As someone who has decided to work from home, time management becomes problematic; it is very important to maintain discipline and remain productive. Without a boss or time clock to keep you in check, it is very easy to get side-tracked and distracted. This is especially true if working on the computer and having easy access to the internet.
I’ve done it myself many times. You think it will only take a few minutes to check your emails or your favorite news blog. Before you know it, a half hour or even a whole hour is gone forever. That is time that you will never get back and the work gets pushed ahead. Slowly the amount of work becomes a mountain ready to smother you at any moment.
How will you get past this? Can you ever not get distracted while trying to get your work done? If you’ve ever been in this situation before then you’re in luck. There are many productivity tools available to help but today I want to discuss one that I recently discovered.
It works like a charm and is easy to implement. I came across this method while studying one of the better internet marketing training programs that I currently participate in. It was first introduced to me in one of Adam Short’s webinars in his Niche Profit Classroom program.
It’s called the Pomodoro technique. How it relates to the Italian word for tomato originates from the developer of this technique, Francesco Cirillo. He used a tomato-shaped kitchen timer to keep track of time. But rest assured, you won’t be required to run out and buy the exact same timer. Any food-shaped kitchen timer will work. I’ll even show you a link to a site that will keep track of time for you on your computer.
Anyways, I digress. The technique works as follows: Each work session is timed for 25 minutes. After the 25 minutes of pure productivity is up, you get 5 minutes for a break. You can do anything you want during these 5 minutes. Then the cycle of 25 minutes begins again followed by another 5 minute break. The cycle is repeated three times to complete four cycles. After that you get a 30 minute break. Then it’s back to the four cycles again. Once this is done, you’ve just put in a full day’s worth of honest work.
Once I started using this technique, I found that I actually got a lot more work accomplished. It has something to do with goal-setting and chunking down the tasks to manageable bite-size morsels. The Pomodoro technique pdf I found here describes how you can deal with interruptions while working the system.
In addition to that, I keep track of my progress using an Excel spreadsheet. That way, I can look back and see what I actually accomplished during the day. I also found the spreadsheet helpful in determining how long it actually took me to perform certain tasks. It serves as a great daily work diary that I can refer to when outsourcing the work. Don’t kid yourself…if you want to grow your business, you will eventually need to outsource the more mundane and repetitive tasks. But that is a discussion for another blog.
I promised to show you a timer that I use on my computer. You can find it here. What I do is set up two timer pages…one is set to 25 minutes and the other is set to 5 minutes. You don’t need to use these timers but pick something that you can work with.
If you aren’t convinced something like this will work, just give it a try. You really have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
If you do find yourself using this technique, I would love to read your comments on how it worked or didn’t work for you. Just write your comments below.