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Pomodoro Technique for Time Management

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Pomodoro Technique

In the 1980s Francesco Cirillo developed the Pomodoro technique to get more studying done while he was in university. He named the method after his timer clock shaped like a tomato (Pomodoro is Italian for tomato). 

This technique caught on quickly and became popular because of how easy it is for anyone to implement and get started. All you need is a simple timer to get started on having undistracted, focused bursts of energy. 

This time management technique combines intense short sessions of focused work with short breaks to avoid getting mentally saturated.

Is Pomodoro for me?

If you’re the kind of person who finds themselves distracted during a workday even though you have the best of intentions to do work, you’re probably going to benefit from Pomodoro. 

You may also be experiencing some of these roadblocks:

  • You have trouble focusing. Even if you sit down at your workstation, fully equipped with everything you need, you end up getting distracted in a few minutes. Next thing you know, one youtube video led to fifty, and it’s been two hours of unproductivity.
  • You feel a lack of motivation to start. You know from past experiences that you end up getting in the flow and actually enjoying yourself every time you do start. However, starting seems to be the most challenging part. You can spend a vast majority of the day just postponing starting your work. 
  • Have trouble being realistic with goals. If you keep taking on endless tasks and spend all your time updating your to-do list and barely completing 10% of this list every day: your problem might be that you take on too much work responsibilities or don’t know how to assign work for the day. 
  • You tend to work too hard, getting enthusiastic about your work and spending hours together until you feel burned out (headache, eyes hurt) and have to take an extended break to recover. Your motivation also tends to run out at this point of burnout, it feels like your brain just doesn’t work anymore!
  • You quickly get emotionally overwhelmed. Do you start your work on a positive note and then glance at the sheer volume of work you’re supposed to do and just crumble? Work is emotionally taxing, and you always feel there’s too much of it. 
  • Have work to do that is a daily process. Whether it’s your day job, learning a new language or a passion project, lots of work needs to be done every day, and just can’t be put off for the last day to ‘cram’. You feel the lack of a daily system that forces you to get a daily input in. 

The Pomodoro technique can help people facing all of these issues because it gives you a reliable system to fall back on when work can feel overwhelming, you have trouble focusing or lack the motivation to get started on your own. 

What is the Pomodoro technique?

When Cirillo, the founder of this technique, struggled with work and assignments, he began to challenge himself to just focus for around ten minutes, and then take a break. He then tweaked the numbers and found the most effective (for him!) to be a 25-minute work session, immediately followed by a 5-minute break. 

All you need to do is to procure a timer. You can also use your inbuilt phone timer, but it’s suggested that you keep your phone switched off or on airplane mode. There are plenty of Pomodoro apps available that will alert you when your work session time is up as long as you enable notifications. I use this nifty website for my Pomodoro work sessions! (In fact, I’m using it right now to write this article!) 

  1. Set the timer for 25 minutes. This is going to be your work session. Once you start working, try your best to stay focused. If for any reason you get distracted, stop the clock and take a five-minute break. After your break, re-start your work session and begin again. 
  1. Make sure you have everything you need. If it’s the right time of day, a cup of coffee or drink to sip on, water, your laptop charger. The aim is to limit the times you have to get up for any reason. 
  1. Keep a blank notepad and pen next to you. You could also open a Note taking app on your phone or computer, but since devices can be distracting, it’s better to opt for the paper and pen.
    Every time you get distracted and break your work session, make a note of what distracted you, whether it was a physical sensation, a social media notification or someone else interrupting your workflow. Noting down the nature of distraction does two things: you acknowledge the distraction, and your brain registers it. You also can reflect later on how to avoid these distractions in the future.

    What often happens when we begin working is random thoughts and things to do come to our head. They can even be essential things, such as realising you didn’t take out the trash today or forgot to brush your teeth. It could be more benign, as you suddenly think about a cool music video you want to watch. Whatever the thought is, write it down on the paper so that you can get to it later. You’ll also experience a sense of relief that you’ve dealt with the thought. 
  1. Take your break! Ensure that you don’t stay at your workplace, try getting up and walking around the house, or getting a stretch done. Don’t make it more difficult for yourself by checking your phone, we all know it’s a trap! We suggest sticking to the Pomodoro clock even if you’re in the flow of working. A five-minute break will rarely ever break your flow, and it will usually refresh you and increase the chances of another uninterrupted 25-minute session. This is your time to refill your water, use the bathroom, or call back a missed call (only to tell them you’re busy!)
  1. If someone calls you during your work session, follow Cirillo’s advice and don’t ignore them. It will only cause more anxiety that you have something to deal with later. Let them know this isn’t a good time, offer to call them later in the day and make a note to call them after you’re done with your sessions!
  1. After you’ve done four Pomodoros, take a much longer break of 15-20 minutes. This will help you feel refreshed and avoid burnout. You can indulge in a light activity this time, maybe eat a snack or step outside for a short walk. You can even reward yourself by listening to your favourite song. Congratulate yourself on completing 100 minutes of focused work!

Tasks and Prioritization

While the Pomodoro technique closely deals with time management, it’s also integral to having proper goal setting and planning involved. If you made an extremely rigorous to-do list for yourself, even ten undisturbed work sessions wouldn’t be enough, and you’d be disheartened. 

Make sure that you prioritize important tasks over the unnecessary ones. An excellent way to do this is to first write down all the important tasks that you want to accomplish in the day, in any order. 

Then close your eyes and envision which one of the tasks is the one that will give you the most anxiety if you don’t complete today. 

Usually, the most important tasks are also the ones that give us the most anxiety. That’s why it’s the easiest to identify them because we’re usually trying to avoid or put off working on them. 

I found myself in an odd unproductive rut recently. Every time I sat down to do an important task, I would complete the other small, unimportant tasks on my to-do list. For example, if I had an important work project, I would put that off and clean my house instead. This way, I could tell myself at the end of the day that at least I did something good and useful instead of watching T.V. 

Don’t let yourself put off the important and uncomfortable tasks with less important and less uncomfortable ones. At the end of the day, if you ignored your work project by cleaning the house or watching T.V, it’s still unproductivity!

Why Pomodoro works

The Pomodoro technique makes it easier for you to just start. Rather than getting overwhelmed with the workload, it helps you motivate yourself by just starting with 25 minutes. If you think your focus is difficult to train, start out work sessions with 15 minutes instead. Either way, the technique is nothing but a template to hack your own time management!

Telling yourself sternly not to get distracted doesn’t always work. You start to do something, and then the distraction pops up. You think it’ll only take a minute, but it usually takes longer than that. Having a designated ‘Distraction Sheet’ where you note them down and a designated five-minute break to complete those desires enables you to continue concentrating. 

Good luck!

Others

How Do I Create a Strong and Uncommon Password?

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Password safety

Are you one of those people who are into a habit of setting easy to remember passwords like 123456 or abc123?

Well, it’s time you reevaluated your methods of creating passwords for your sensitive accounts like credit cards, debit cards, internet banking, or even Facebook (attackers can steal your personal information from social media sites). Hackers have more than one way to get to your bank account.

But how are you going to do it? Just type a combination of random guttural letters/numbers/special characters? This is what this post is all about. According to a stat published on HostingTribunal, there is a hacker attack every 39 seconds. Imagine the number of innocent people getting duped every day.

How Do Most People Create a Password?

Usually, people like to set their passwords based on things they are around all the time. Like someone who loves Mexican food would have tacos or burrito in their password. To make their password unique, usually, people add a birthdate and/or the name of their hometown to it. So, a regular person is more likely to set their password something like burritonewyork1992. Does this sound like your password?

Here Are a Few Tips You Should Keep in Mind Before Creating a Password?

1) Do Not Use Known Western First Names in Your Password

This is one of the biggest mistakes people make while creating a password. Hackers in countries like China, Russia, and North Korea are more acquainted with American and British names than the names of any other foreign country. Avoid first names, last names, birth date, or even the date you created the password on.

2) Do Not Post Your Details on Social Media Sites

This is not a way to create a strong password but is a tip that can help you keep your financial assets safe and secure. Gone are days when it was a norm to post every detail of your personal and professional life on social media sites. You can use apps like WhatsApp or Telegram to share personal details like images, birth date, hometown, etc with your loved ones.

3) How to Create a Strong Password

Okay, so you now know that adding personal details to your password is not a good idea. So what should your password consist of? To create a strong and uncommon password, you should make an effort to make it seem as senseless and absurd as possible. 

However, formulating the password in a way in which it is easier to remember for you. Here is a tip. Let’s say you wish to create a 10 letter password. Make sure the first half of the password is something you can remember (yet, is impersonal) and the second half should contain numbers and special characters. For eg: xenon3%78@

Summary

This is my guide to creating a strong and uncommon password. Before you go ahead and change all your passwords, be aware of the fact that most internet browsers suggest you a strong password at the time of setting or changing one. Do not accept the suggestion. You can only use those passwords when signing up for a known but unimportant service.

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Self Improvement

4 Ways COVID-19 Has Changed Marketing

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Marketing

The marketing industry is constantly changing, but over the past year, one of the biggest reasons why marketing has changed is due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the vaccine has led to the world largely beginning to get back to normal, it’s unlikely that consumerism is going to look exactly the same even when the global pandemic becomes history. So, what can marketers expect from a post-COVID-19 world?

More Connection

While the pandemic had an awful effect on the lives of many people around the world, one of the good things to come out of the situation is that people are staying more connected than ever before. Throughout the year where most of us stayed at home wherever possible to protect ourselves and others, a new mentality of ‘we are all in it together’ began to grow. This is likely to affect the way that people shop for some time, with many brands including Nike taking advantage of the new consumer attitude of staying connected and looking out for one another. 

Online Shopping

More and more brands have had to move online in order to survive throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Even brands that had gotten left behind and did not see the need to set up a website where customers could make purchases were forced to very quickly modernize their operations and create an online presence or else fail. For marketers, the fact that customers are choosing to shop online more and more often as a result of the pandemic is a huge bonus. This has provided marketing agencies like merrittgrp.com with far more access to consumer data, which can then be used to drive further marketing decisions for the future. 

A Human Touch

Working from home has caused huge changes to companies, with most of us more accepting that things happen and at the end of the day, everybody is human. While the human touch was already becoming more and more important in marketing, the pandemic has only highlighted the need for all companies to move away from a robotic, uber-professional way of doing things and connect with their customers as people. 

Customer Engagement

Customer engagement has become one of the most vital marketing strategies used by companies throughout the pandemic. With stores closing and online shopping becoming the only way to get access to the non-essential products that consumers want, most people are going to remember which brands took the time to engage with them throughout the crisis and which ones dropped off the radar. Throughout the pandemic, the brands that have been the most successful have achieved this by putting in the time and effort to regularly connect with and check up on their customers through online engagement on social media and a wide range of other channels. Brands that have looked to do something different such as online classes and virtual entertainment to bring their customers together and boost engagement have encouraged people to stay connected to their brand even in difficult times. 

Has COVID-19 made a difference to the way that you market your brand?

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Entrepreneurs

How Does Time Management Affect Work-Life Balance?

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Work Life Balance

We are living in a rapidly changing world with a lot of uncertainty looming around us. We set specific goals and milestones for ourselves and hustle and grind incessantly to achieve them. We, as millennials, have been living in a competitive and digitalized society. There is a constant need to prove ourselves and succeed in life. The fear of missing out, or as the millennials say FOMO, is accurate and brings anxiety and stress. The need to be everywhere, please everyone and emulate a particular kind of lifestyle and personality takes a toll on your mental and physical health. This tug of war between managing your time, achieving your goals, and being present for your family and social circle inadvertently affects your personal life and relationships. 

It is perfectly healthy to have ambitions, but at the same time, it is necessary to strive for balance in life. How would you feel to miss out on those special moments and happenings that no camera or social media app can capture? The simple pleasures of life are too precious to be missed out on to meet another deadline. Rather than getting pulled in both directions, be smart and devise a time management plan. It will not only help you be organized and keep your work life in check but will gradually strengthen your ability to carve out that much-needed “me” time and some time for your family and friends. Be smart about your time. 

Some essential time management tips :

Planning

Spend the initial 20-30 minutes of your mornings planning your day. Use the various planner apps available online to create your schedule, or use the simple and old-fashioned pen and paper formula. It will aid you in creating a timeline for your day and prioritize your tasks better. Creating a timeline for each job and working in tandem with the plan you chalk out for yourself is necessary for the program you devise for the day. 

Be practical

Every individual wants to tick off their wish-lists points, more commonly known as the bucket list. Be it travel-oriented wishes, work-related goals, specific experiences they want to have, or a simple buy they wish to make. It is different for every person. While making a list is appreciated, be practical about your goals and do not live for them. Life will sometimes throw in some surprises that you can experience only when you are present to live them and not chase your dreams. 

Delegation

Learn to delegate work. It is advisable to have a strong sense of responsibility to succeed in your professional life. Still, it also requires you to wise and divide and assign duties to your team members. Build a trustworthy team and have faith in their abilities to make things happen. You cannot be a one-person army, be it in your personal life or professional life. Society needs to thrive and grow together as a unit. 

Planning, Practicality, and Delegation will help you grow and devote time to yourself. Time management will maintain that much-needed work-life balance and open your mind to various other opportunities and life experiences. 

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