Today, I have been asked to share with you my top productivity hack as a LinkedIn Top Voices honoree in Job Search and Careers.

About 10 years ago, a client introduced me to a task management system that changed my life, as well as that of so many of my clients.

You may have heard of it.

It’s the Pomodoro Technique – named after the little kitchen tomato clock. ‘Pomodoro’ means ‘tomato’ in Italian.

This is a technique that works really well if you have an overwhelming to-do list, if you are prone to procrastination or performance anxiety, or if you have ADD.

If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a technique that was devised to manage and prioritize task lists and handle them in small bite size chunks.

A Pomodoro is considered a 25-minute chunk of time during which you focus on only one task. You then take a 5-minute break where you do something enjoyable and non-task related. After 4 Pomodoro, you take at least a 30-minute break.

Here are the basics of how it works:

1. You create a Master List of all the things that you need to do.

2. You prioritize those items and rank order them.

3. You assign how many Pomodoro that you think it will take to complete the task

4. At the beginning of the day or the night before, you decide what tasks on your master list you will engage and how many Pomodoro you will complete.

5. Before completing your Pomodoro, you should minimize external distractions by making sure no one disrupts you – this could include being clear to others about not interrupting you during your Pomodoro, turning off your phone, or turning off notifications.

6. You minimize internal distractions by keeping a piece of paper and pen next to you while you work on your task. Any time a new to-do comes into your mind like ‘I have to call my mom,’ you write it on the list. During your break, you can decide whether you put it on your Master List or handle it during the break.

7. At the end of the day, you review your process and ask yourself the following questions and then adjust the process accordingly.

• Did I correctly estimate the time it takes to do tasks? Did you underestimate or overestimate?

• Did you overestimate or underestimate how many Pomodoro you could do? How did the amount of Pomodoro that you completed feel? Did you feel tired or have energy to do more?

• How did you deal with distractions? Could you impact the distractions in more effective ways?

If you want to read more, check out my favorite workbook on the topic – The Pomodoro Technique Illustrated by Staffan Noteberg.

Please share with me if you have ever used the Pomodoro Technique or if you have a productivity hack that you love and has worked for you.

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