2017 — The Year of the Tomato

Before 2017 when I wanted to be super productive I did one of two things.

The first method I call the list of three. If I’m all over the place and need to force focus upon myself I write down a list of three things and I cannot move onto the next item or do anything else until the first one is done. That’s it, no excuses. Three things MUST be checked off.

Sometimes if I want to feel productive immediately the first one might read “pour yourself a cup of coffee.” Cheating? Who cares! It’s a little trick that propels me to the second one. I repeat the list of three as necessary depending on my focus.

The second method is ideal for more involved tasks that will require blocks of time. I set my timer on my phone for a specific period of time, usually anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes depending on how focused I think I can be.

Once the time starts there is nothing that will interrupt me. Nada. I have water at my side, I’m not hungry and my phone is upside down and on silent. Highly effective. Once the timer goes off I take a short break. Usually 10 minutes and go back at it.

About a month ago I had two seriously productive women recommend a tool called the Productivity Planner. I checked it out online and decided it must be mine for the new year, so I had that bad boy shipped all the way to Italy.

Productivity Planner

The Productivity Planner uses a specific method to assist you in getting down to productive business, it’s based on tomatoes. Well, a pomodoro (Italian for tomato) to be exact. The Pomodoro Technique was developed by Francesco Cirillo, as a method to bust through his procrastination. It’s based on 25 minutes of work time with a 5 minute break after.

Just like my blocks of time, you either do one pomodoro or you do none. You do not do half ass a pomodoro. Once you are comfortable with 25 minutes you can up the ante.

The Planner also ties in assigning the importance of tasks. If you only did one thing today, what would that be? After tackling that one, you feel like a star (trust me) and you can move on to secondary tasks.

I know I’m waxing poetic. Thanks to the use of the Planner I have gotten SO much done in the 12 days of the 2017. Highly recommend. Also, who knew that I had been doing a version of the Pomodoro, an actual technique, this whole time. I feel oh so smart.

What about you? What tools/tricks do you use to help you become and stay focused throughout the day?