My Number One Productivity Hack – The Pomodoro Technique

Two Peas in a Prada co founder Emily Farren Wieczorek shares her top three tips for productivity including The Pomodoro Technique.

Earlier in the month I was asked how I seem to get so much done in a day. “How are you SO productive?”  Ever since then, I’ve been thinking about it. So I decided to write a couple of my best ideas all down in one post.

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Ashley will tell you – I am one of the most hyperactive people she knows. I always have been. I am very bad at sitting still, and I am horrible at doing nothing. My husband always tells me I need to learn how to sit down and relax… and I am trying to be better about it. The issue with my type of personality, is finishing everything I’ve started.  The challenge is that I am easily distracted,  I frequently take on too many projects, and  I say “Yes!” emphatically to every one and every thing.

Here’s the deal… no one is perfect. 

To combat the pieces of my personality that could hinder my productivity I have come up with a few ways to stay on track and to finish strong. The easiest way is the Pomodoro Technique. It is effective, applicable, and amazing because literally EVERYONE can use it. All you need is a stopwatch on your phone. The other two tips for productivity are harder and require a deeper dive.

Here we go.

My Top 3 Tips For Productivity:

1.) Quit whatever is holding you back.  One reason for my increased productivity (as of late) is that I quit drinking. I wrote extensively about my decision >>> here. I never had a drinking problem, but I started to realize that I was losing precious hours of my day every time I drank. So now that I quit… it’s incredible. I feel amazing every single day. My mind is clearer. My brain is more focused. I feel like myself 100% of the time. Obviously – not drinking has played a huge role and helps with productivity. For some people it may be negative self talk, for some it may be an unhealthy relationship, for some it may be alcohol… whatever is holding you back… QUIT IT. Your productivity will soar.

2.)  Productivity is a mindset. Remind yourself that your time is precious. To be productive, you have to want to be productive. You have to want to get $hit done. You have to want to change your life. I want all of these things on a daily basis. And more than those things, I have a large desire to change the world. So here’s the real deal. I could give you all the best tips for productivity, but without the inner drive, you’re not going to get anywhere. I could literally draw you the roadmap to success and give you the keys to the castle,  but without the fire in your heart — you won’t do a thing. I am writing a post about finding your passion, and starting your side hustle next week, so stay tuned for that. 

To be productive, you also have to care about your time. I am productive because I hate wasting time and I remind myself constantly that time is precious. Not to be morbid, but Joe and I have had too many people we love pass away and get sick this year. One of my husband’s oldest friends just passed away on Sunday after a horrific battle with cancer. We have been reminded time and time again of our own mortality. This past year has put SO many things into perspective for both of us. Our time here is short and not guaranteed. It’s as simple as that.

I don’t want to look back on my life and wonder “What if?” And I hope the same for you. 

If you start living your life with a “time is precious” mentality, and an “I am lucky to be here” mentality…. I bet your productivity will change too. A simple way to do this is to start your day with gratitude. Wake up, and with your 1st breath, thank whatever or whoever it is you believe in, for that breath. As you swing your legs over the side of your bed in the morning – thank God for those legs. Thank God for health. Thank God for waking up today with a body that will carry you. Be thankful for a roof over your head. Do this, and I guarantee you will see life differently, and I GUARANTEE you will start to be more productive. Now… we get to the easy tip…

3.) The easiest tip for increased productivity – The Pomodoro Technique. I discovered this technique a couple of years ago. Some friends and I had what we called an “Article Club”. We found that a book club was too daunting at that point in our lives, so instead, we chose to read an informative article every month. We would then come together, over wine and delicious food, and discuss the article. One of my favorite “Article Club” meetings was about what is now one of my very favorite tips for productivity – The Pomodoro Technique.

For our particular Article Club, my friend Rachel chose two articles. One on Parkinson’s Law, and then one on the Pomodoro Technique. The idea was that, as women, we are always trying to find ways to be more efficient and to get everything done. At work, at home, and just at life in general. Perhaps if we put our minds together, we could – 1.) See and share what was stopping us from being as productive as possible and 2.) Learn each other’s tips for productivity.

Why use The Pomodoro Technique?

For some background – Parkinson’s Law >>> see here, basically states that you will take the amount of time you are given for the task at hand and fill it completely. I’m SUPER guilty of this one. FOR SURE. Say you have a full weekend to clean your home.  Given that deadline, you will probably take the FULL weekend to do it. I know I would! What we found in our Article Club group discussion was that many of us were unknowingly guilty of this. If we are given a project with a generous deadline, we would unknowingly complicate it to fit the deadline. Or procrastinate finishing the project because we knew it wasn’t pressing. << Guilty as charged. Here is where The Pomodoro Technique comes in.

How to use The Pomodoro Technique: 

The Pomodoro Technique, simplified, is giving yourself  25 minute intervals to complete tasks at hand or goals. You set multiple goals in a day, and allocate your work into 25 minute segments. For example, say I have a list of 10 tasks to get done for work in a day. They may be – sourcing the Daily 10, finding inspirational quotes, reviewing contracts, responding to emails, writing  3 posts, optimizing SEO, linking Instagram posts, filming a try on, editing photos, etc. I will make a list of all my tasks for the day and then I give myself 25 minutes to complete each task. Instead of allowing my Daily 10 selections to take hours, I put a timer on and I know that each task will, AT THE MAXIMUM, take me 25 minutes. Now obviously some projects will inevitably take longer than 25 minutes. When you see tasks like these… tasks that are sucking your time… and tasks that have LARGE amounts of time allocated to them… let it be an indication to either 1.) break down that task further or 2.) delegate and seek help.

Why I love The Pomodoro Technique: 

The amazing thing about the Pomodoro technique is that ANYONE can do it. AT the end of the day all you need is the timer on your cell phone and a project. It is amazing because  you feel like you are racing against yourself – and somehow that propels you to get the work done. It becomes a game. I really love using the Pomodoro Technique for home projects. Oftentimes, I can’t believe how quickly I clean areas that I have put off organizing for months. All because I don’t want to lose to myself. It’s hilarious!

I also use this technique when I sit down to write blog posts. If I know that I have a 25 minute timer set to get a post done, I am much more likely to be hyper focused, and much less likely to let my mind wander. I use this technique for a whole lot more than blog posts though!

What you can use The Pomodoro Technique For: 

  • Cleaning the house
  • Meal Prep
  • Work Projects
  • Homework with your kids
  • Organization tasks

Things I notice when I use The Pomodoro Technique for work: 

  • My work is actually better
  • My writing is more concise
  • I get back to emails faster
  • I tackle projects that I have been putting off
  • I am more proud of myself and I feel more accomplished at the end of the day

My favorite Pomodoro Technique products:

  •  Timer: This is the number one tool for the Pomodoro Technique – you can also use a timer on your phone, but sometime that gets distracting to me.
  • Productivity Planner: Ashley and I both LOVE this planner! We are OBSESSED
  • Pomodoro Technique Book: This book pretty much breaks down the technique and shows you how to apply it to everyday life. If you want to know the background and history – this is a great one!
  • Daily To Do List: I love this To Do list for staying on track and for laying out all my daily tasks!

I hope you found this informative – and if you do end up using the Pomodoro Technique – PLEASE TAG US and let us know! We love when you let us know that you’re using something we’ve posted about – so please tag us on stories, send us a DM, or shoot us an email!

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