How to Use Batching to Become More Productive

This is a guest post by Joshua Leatherman, a former book buyer for Family Christian Stores, a small business owner, communications strategist. You can read more on his blog or follow him on Twitter or Facebook. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

A friend recently sent me a fascinating article on “batching.” After reading it, I became intrigued with the idea of dedicating blocks of time to similar tasks in order to decrease distraction and increase productivity. While there are variations of batching, the Pomodoro Technique seems to be well thought out and tested. There are also free tools and resources to get you started.

A Tomato Timer - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/aroax, Image #9443672

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/aroax

What Is Batching?

Batching is simply a form of time management that allows a person to maximize concentration and decrease distraction. As a result, it increases your productivity, creativity, and mental sharpness, while decreasing fatigue, procrastination, and stress. Batch processing is the grouping of similar tasks that require similar resources in order to streamline their completion.

Too many of us go through our day allowing distractions to dictate our activities. We’re in a constant state of reacting to the needs or interjections of those distractions (e.g., email, phone calls, text messages, voicemail, meetings, etc), However well-intentioned, we often allow the priorities of others to supersede our own. How often have you had a project or specific tasks that required time and focus but an email or phone call distracted you from accomplishing it? Working in a perpetual state of shifting tasks and refocusing attention creates fatigue, stress, and decreased productivity.

Every time we become distracted, it takes an average of 15 minutes to regain complete focus. Unless you are intentionally managing your time, there is a very good chance that you operate in a constant state of unfocused response. If that’s the case, you are not being nearly as effective or productive as you could be and you’re simply not giving yourself, or your employer, your best (note: your best is not defined by how hard you work but by how smart you work).

Batching minimizes the amount of distraction that’s placed on our increasingly connected lives. It not only protects us from the distractions of others, but also from our self-inflicted distractions. How many times have I seen an update on Twitter or Facebook from a friend that indicated they should be ______ (fill in the blank; writing a paper, editing, answering email, working on a project, cooking dinner, etc.)?

Batching is setting aside an intentional amount of time for intentional tasks and making an intentional effort to not allow the distractions or interjections of others break that focus. After that block of time is up, take a planned break, then begin the next block of focused time. Each block of focused time is dedicated to one task or set of similar tasks.

The Multi-Tasking Myth

We are creatures of structure and habit; without it, we get stressed and fatigued. There’s a myth that (s)he who masters the practice of multi-tasking will be at the top of their game. It couldn’t be further from the truth. Study after study has shown that multi-tasking decreases productivity dramatically and drains one of creativity. The purpose of multi-tasking is reactive in nature—it’s the ability to adapt to tasks “on the fly” and to constantly shift focus from one task to another. Multi-tasking creates a convoluted and stressful environment that is eventually unsustainable. Left unchecked, you will drop balls lose your sanity.

In an article for the the Harvard Business Review, Peter Bregman notes that our productivity goes down by 40% when we attempt to focus on several things at once. He notes that we are not really multi-tasking. Instead, we are rapidly switching from one task to another and interrupting our productivity.

The Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique is one method for batching tasks. Here’s how it works:

  1. Plan and prioritize the tasks that need to be completed, by writing them down.
  2. Set a timer for for 25 minutes and devote that time to a task, or to a group of similar tasks. Larger tasks can be broken into multiple blocks or “pomodoro’s,” and smaller tasks (responding to email, returning phone calls, etc) can be grouped into a single block. After completing each Pomodoro, you put an “X” next to it and mark the number of times that you were distracted.
  3. Take a 5 minute break.
  4. Begin another block of time or “pomodoro.”
  5. After completing 4 pomodoro’s, take an extended 20 minute break.

According to the Pomodoro website, you should see noticeable improvements in your productivity almost immediately and mastery of the technique in 7–20 days.

And what about the name? Pomodoro means “tomato” in Italian. The inventor of the technique, Francesco Cirillo (Italian), initially used a tomato-shaped kitchen timer when he developed the technique.

Pomodoro Resources

Here are some Pomodoro resources you might find helpful:

Question: Have you ever tried batching? What would it make possible for your productivity? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • http://www.warriorshepherd.com/blog Dave Hearn

    Good technique.   I especially agree with your point on multi-tasking.

    I was wondering where the name came from, it seemed pretty random.  Thanks for answering that question.. :^)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      It makes me want to get the tomato-timer!

      • http://LookingForPurpose.com Dylan Dodson

        Perhaps that should be one of your next giveaways :)!

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          That would have been a great idea!

        • http://twitter.com/RookieWriter David Barry DeLozier

          You get discounts when you batch orders …

          • http://somewiseguy.com ThatGuyKC

            Haha! Nice pun.

          • Jmhardy97

            good thought

            Jim

        • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

          I agree! :)

      • Anonymous

        The funny thing is, I was in a teacher-supply store yesterday.  They had various types of timers for classroom use.  One of the timers looked like a very strange apple.  Now I’m thinking it may have been a tomato. 

        • Jmhardy97

          I use a timer for meetings, you would be suprised how well it works.

          Jim

      • Pastor Cheatham

        If you use Google Chrome. They actually have a built in timer called the “Chromodoro” app you can install on the browser! It looks like a little tomato!

        • Anonymous

          Wow – I didn’t know that.  This, along with the clip to Evernote feature, makes Google Chrome a browser with a lot of utility!

        • Jmhardy97

          Thanks I did not know that.

          Jim

          • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

            That is pretty cool!

    • Anonymous

      In a world where everyone is trying to sell you something to help you activate – this method is pretty cheap.  How much does a tomato timer cost!?!

    • Joe Lalonde

      I love what the name means and how he came up with it!

      • Jmhardy97

        I agree

        Jim

  • http://twitter.com/joannamuses joanna

    I’ve used it quite a bit when writing essays and have found it quite helpful.

    I’ve found it particularly helpful when tired or discouraged about what I am doing. Sometimes the thought of having to sit down and work for the rest of the afternoon feels too overwhelming or depressing. Having the goal of just working for the next 25 minutes feels a lot more achievable.

    • http://LookingForPurpose.com Dylan Dodson

      I agree. 25 minutes seems way more doable than an entire afternoon!

    • Allen Marsh

      Very true

    • http://courseadjustments.wordpress.com B_schebs

      kinda like the old saying.  How do you eat an elephant? One bite at  a time.

    • Anonymous

      Joana, I agree.  You can do anything for 25 minutes!  It’s manageable.

    • Joe Lalonde

      I like the idea of small batches of 25 minutes rather than an hour or two at a time. The 5 minute breaks seem like a great idea too.

      • Jmhardy97

        I agree, 25 minutes goes by fast.

        Jim

        • Joe Lalonde

          Yes it does.

    • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

      I get distracted so much when I write essays, but when I am focused, I can knock out a 5 page paper in 1 hr.

    • Jmhardy97

      This is true. It helps block time and keeps you focused.

      Jim

  • http://www.facebook.com/momofkings Dawn Michelle King

    Thanks for this post, Joshua. This will definitely help me focus more. I like that it is a smaller bite of time than many other techniques I’ve seen. That makes it fit better into my life (both at work and at home).

    And Michael, thanks again for having content that is inspiring and helpful!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      You are welcome, Dawn.

    • Anonymous

      You’re welcome, Dawn.  I’m glad it brings value to your day!

  • Anonymous

    I’ve used batching and pomodoro a number of times. It really does work, and my brain feels less fatigued by the process. I also have an app called “freedom” on my mac, that shuts down my wi-fi for a designated length of time, without a workaround to crank it back up. This removes my ability to get a “quick-fix” of social media if my brain wanders. That, more than anything, is my time-killer.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I use Anti-Social, which is made by the same people who made Freedom. I love it!

      • Anonymous

        Concentrate is a browser extension that will do the same thing as Anti-Social. But, well, it’s free. :)

        • Jmhardy97

          Yes it is!

          JIm

      • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

        Haha! That’s a great name! :)

    • Joe Lalonde

      Freedom sounds like a great app to help you stay on task. I know I often stray off to a social media or news site.

    • Jmhardy97

      Thank you for sharing you past experience.

      jim

    • Shannon

      Is there something I can use on a PC?

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        Freedom works on the PC also. Thanks.

  • Anonymous

    Love the pomodoro technique. I also use a whiteboard that hangs on the wall above my desk. It is divided into 6 sections. Yearly goals, current month goals, weekly goals, today’s goals, inspiration (motivating quotes and verses), and my daily checklist. I use the pomodoro technique with all items written in the today section of my whiteboard.

    All of these are in direct eyesight and keep me moving. I review each section on a regular basis. My productivity has doubled since using this system. I wrote a 24 page ebook and created 7 videos showing how to use the system for my readers at Bloggging Your Passion. It is a free resource if anyone has an interest.

    I call it the Simple Blog Business Plan

    • http://courseadjustments.wordpress.com B_schebs

      @jmilligan:disqus , I just checked out your blog – Tons of great information.  Thanks for Sharing

    • Joe Lalonde

      I like your idea of the whiteboard. I may have to clear off a wall in my home office to put one up.

      Your blog looks good. It’s nice, crisp, and clean. I’ve added it to my bookmarks!

      • Anonymous

        Thanks! Here is a direct link to the PDF that I created that explains my whiteboard system for staying motivated and getting things done. No opt in or email sign up required. Just a free resource. I hope it can give you some new and creative ideas for getting things done using a simple whiteboard.

        Simple Blog Business Plan: http://bit.ly/q9w9mg

        • Joe Lalonde

          Thanks for the direct link. I’ve downloaded it and will look at it when I have some free time.

          Just something I noticed… You don’t have your blog linked to your Disqus account. Did you know you could do that? It helps promote your blog and lets people easily find it.

          • Anonymous

            Do you know if you can add multiple blogs?I run multiple blogs. One is for career coaching, one for self productivity, and one for bloggers who want to grow their blogs.

          • Joe Lalonde

            It looks like you can add multiple sites. I have a generic site listed and there’s options to add more. Go to Disqus.com and sign up to see what it offers.

          • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

            Hey Joe,
            I have seen (used) where you can add multiple sites so that you can use Disqus on those sites.  But, I have only seen where you can link one site with your profile so that it is seen, like here in these comments, when clicking on someone’s name.

            Have you seen something different?

          • Joe Lalonde

            Steven, I’m not sure if I’m seeing something different. When I’m looking at my profile page on http://www.disqus.com, I see a column that says “Your Sites” and lists the sites that you have. I’m unsure if others can see this as I don’t have any sites. I’ve posted a picture with the area circled to show an example.

          • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

            Hey Joe, “Your Sites” is where you configure the web sites (blogs) on which you will use the Disqus commenting system. The URL that is associated with your name, when displayed as a commentor, is configured in your profile settings. These settings are accessed from the dropdown menu reached through clicking your disqus profile name in the upper right-hand corner of the page (see attached image). I hope this helps.

          • Joe Lalonde

            Steve, thanks for clearing that up.

          • Jmhardy97

            Thank you for helping with this.

            Jim

          • Jmhardy97

            I have not see this.

            Jim

          • Joe Lalonde

            If you go to your Disqus profile page, that is where you will see it. Though it looks like I may have been incorrect as to what it is used for.

          • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

            I haven’t seen a way to add multiple blogs as part of your profile.

            However, you could create a simple landing page – something that gives your bio and briefly describes your list of web sites / blogs.  You could then add that to your disqus profile – which woul  then link with your name when seen in comment discussions.  This would give an easy way for people to connect with you and link into your multiple blogs.

          • Joe Lalonde

            That’s a great idea Steven.

          • Jmhardy97

            I agree. I helps keep things in front of you and in focus.

            Jim

          • Joe Lalonde

            So true. I know I get distracted by everything else around me other than what I need to be working on. A whiteboard could be of great help./

        • Jmhardy97

          Thank you for sharing this. I will pass it on.

          Jim

    • http://twitter.com/CoachTheresaIF Theresa Ip Froehlich

      The whiteboard idea is a great visual aid. Linking today’s goals to the week, month, and year is a brilliant idea. Thank you for sharing this.

    • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

      Thanks for sharing your resource.  It looks good.

      I do like the idea (or maybe, eye-dea) of keeping things in direct eyesight.  It is too easy for things to get lost or fall through the cracks.

      • Anonymous

        You are welcome guys (and gals)! Glad it could help.

    • Jmhardy97

      Thanks for the best practice.

      Jim

  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    Great topic, Joshua. I use a similar technique called the 48 minute empower hour. You simply divide an hour into 80/20 pieces. For the larger projects, such as writing a book, you set a timer for 48 minutes and do one thing. Then take a 12 minute break… repeat as necessary. 

    The real power in this program ys other time periods is its flexibility. 48 Minutes divides well. I can do two projects in that time at 24 minutes each, three projects at 16 minutes, four projects at 12 minutes and eight projects at 6 minutes. Or I can divide them up into long and short ones.

    I have developed some tools to help me track my time on paper. I think the real key to 48 minutes is it is long enough to get most tasks done before you take a break. Taking a break is the dangerous part and many times the distractions get the best of you.

    Overall, this focused process has worked wonders for me. I’ve used it to write a book, train for a triathlon, and get control of my daily activities. 

    I hadn’t heard about the Pomodoro technique before. I’m not sure about a 25 minute period as that seems somewhat short and hard to divide, (25/2 = 12.5) but the website is cool. Same basic idea though.

    • Anonymous

      I like that twist on the pomodoro technique. I might have to try that out. Thanks!

      • http://courseadjustments.wordpress.com B_schebs

        @johnrichardson:disqus You never cease to add amazing comments on this blog. Practical, useful, and thought provoking.  Thank you!

    • http://twitter.com/gregsligon Greg Ligon

      Thanks John this is very helpful…I agree.  I tend to work better in fewer longer blocks of time…

    • Anonymous

      John, the nice thing about batching is that everyone has different periods of time that is optimal for them and it can be changed to fit your work-style.  The Pomodoro is one technique.  A simple stop watch would work just as well.  Thanks for sharing your success story!

      • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

        Thanks Josh. I put together some worksheets for the 48 minutes plan that divide an hour up into different pieces. I think they would work with the Pomodoro plan too. Your readers can download them here. http://goals4u.us/pxtINc

        • Jmhardy97

          Thank you John.

          Jim

    • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

      Cool! I like that idea too!

    • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

      Hey John, I have linked into your site before and seen your 48-minutes process.  I really appreciate the approach and concepts behind the 48 minutes.

      As a software developer, I need longer periods of time for a work session – especially since it takes a while to get into the “zone” in the first place and back into the “zone” after any sort of interruption or break.

      • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

        Tony Schwartz, in his book, The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working, references a research study that says the optimal length of time for focused work is from 45 to 90 minutes. When I’m working in a deep thought process, such as programming, I can go for 90 minutes straight. For most processes though, 48 minutes seems to work best for me. 

        Usually if I need to go 90 minutes, I just do two sessions. In the real world, especially at work, you’re lucky if you can keep distractions at bay for more than an hour. Taking the twelve minute break between sessions allows you to make phone calls and put out fires.

        • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

          I haven’t timed things to see what my optimal length of a session would be; but, I could see 90 minutes or so doing well.  If I were to make an educated guess, I think it takes about 10-15 minutes to get into the groove of coding (or other creative work).  Then, I can usually be productive for an hour, sometimes a bit longer, before needing a mental break or to do other things in the office.

          So, two sessions sounds about right for me in this type of work.  And, of course, shorter sessions for other work.

          You are right about the distractions at work.  Fortunately my office is pretty quite.

        • Jmhardy97

          Thank you for sharing this best practice. I to have to keep things to a minimum in order to stay focused. 45 min is the best for me.

          Jim

      • Peter B

        Steven, I agree that creative work like coding software, or writing blogs and articles requires longer periods.  There is a “free-to-try” Windows timer that is adjustable up to 99 minutes available at http://www.katmarsoftware.com/personal-productivity-timer.htm  It also allows the rest period to be adjusted, and automatically starts timing your rest when the work period finishes.

        Some authors even recommend the (10+2)*5 dash where you work for 10 minutes and break for 2,  and repeat 5 times.  Seems good for the non-creative grunt tasks we have to do sometimes.

        • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

          Hey Peter, thanks for the link!

        • Jmhardy97

          Thank you for sharing the link

          Jim

    • Jmhardy97

      JOhn,

      you are correct. I teach on the 80/20 rule and it really helps people out. Priorites are a must if you want to be successful.

      Jim

  • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris Jeub

    “Fatigue.” By golly, that’s what I’ve been experiencing lately. It hasn’t been depression or writer’s block or any of those other things. I’ve been terming it as “so busy I don’t know what to do next.” It’s fatigue.

    And the pomodoro technique may be the answer to my fatigue of late. It is the busiest time of my yearly publishing cycle, and I don’t have the flexibility to be fatigued. Thank you for helping me sort this out, Joshua!

    • Anonymous

      Thanks, Chris!  It’s easy to try to do to much at once and a destructive sense of overwhelming fatigue (and eventual breakdown) is natural.  The term multi-tasking is not manageable, sustainable, or healthy.

  • http://byrdmouse.wordpress.com Jonathan

    I have done this to some degree with my morning reading, and not reviewing social media until I’m home from work, also with some of the online games I play with friends, especially since I learned I can put down the phone on Father’s Day (http://bit.ly/byrd4). While I noticed the increase in productivity, I have not considered increasing my batching. I have also noticed the waste of time that comes when I don’t group activities together.

    • Anonymous

      Using nutshell mail is the way to go when managing social media in my opinion. It is a free to sign up. You tell it what times of the day you want to see your latest activity on your Facebook stream, fan pages, twitter activity and so on. I set the system to email me at noon and 5 pm and then it doesn’t become a time suck for me. You ought to check it out.

    • Jmhardy97

      I just sent this out to my friends. Thank you for sharing.

      Jim

  • Ziad

    I have used the Pomodoro technique before and introduced a colleague and a few students of mine to it. My colleague told me a few months after our conversation that she loved how she could tell herself: “I have 25 minutes” rather than feel as though time were the enemy. As for the students, the class I discussed this with thought it was a strange idea. Later, I overheard one of them say to a friend that she was getting through her homework so much faster since she started using the technique.

  • http://www.dewittrobinson.com Dewitt Robinson

    I’m a former teacher. This is similar to the chunking method. To help students better comprehend content, often instructors will break lessons into smaller pieces over time.

    It helps to increase student learning.

    • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

      Yep…you can not learn too well in huge chunks.

  • http://profiles.google.com/sequoiajoy Connie Brown

    Scheduling, focusing, grouping similar tasks, taking short breaks — this is good advice for leaders and writers.

    I’m reminded of an article in Copyblogger, How to Kill Writer’s Block and Become a Master Copywriter in Only 3 Hours a Day, that revealed a similar technique with a few critical rules. (http://www.copyblogger.com/schwartz-copywriting-system/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Copyblogger+%28Copyblogger%29) Eugene Schwartz set his timer for 33.33 minutes. Then he could drink coffee, stare out the window or write until his writing block of time was over. He couldn’t leave the chair or do anything else. When the timer rang, he took a short break. He repeated this  focused time several times a day.

    I’ve tried this writing technique and it works. Focused time combats distractions and the rule to do nothing else unleashes the power of boredom to dissolve resistance to write.

    Thanks for the good article and reminders to intentionally focus.

    Thought for the day: “Each block of focused time is dedicated to one task or set of similar tasks.” — Joshua Leatherman

    • Anonymous

      Thanks, Connie.  This technique gives you permission to shut technology off in order to silence social and cognitive dissonance.  It gives you permission to stay sane and get productive!

      • http://profiles.google.com/sequoiajoy Connie Brown

        Permission to shut technology off — what wonderful words. I think I will, thank you.

        Of course, when you state to “stay sane” that assumes someone is sane to begin with, but I won’t quibble about words today since I’m saner than usual and more productive, thanks to you.  ; )

    • Jmhardy97

      Thank you connie for sharing.

      Jim

  • http://twitter.com/RookieWriter David Barry DeLozier

    Interesting.  Thanks for posting.  I frequently batch work, but I also permit “multi-tasking” periods to creep into my day.  I will certianly take advantage of these great resources.

  • http://twitter.com/RookieWriter David Barry DeLozier

    You can get the tomato timer at Amazon for $1.99.

    • http://LookingForPurpose.com Dylan Dodson

      Ha, I wouldn’t be surprised if a few of those where sold today!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Make sure you read the reviews. Some of these seem to be made really, really cheap. The iPhone app is only $2.99.

      • http://twitter.com/RookieWriter David Barry DeLozier

        Good point. I’ll likely use the IPhone app but I think I want a tomato timer as a mnemonic device …

        • http://courseadjustments.wordpress.com B_schebs

          just sitting it on the desk as a reminder, and a conversation piece, although that could drain productivity.

      • Anonymous

        Agreed.  I’ve found the iPhone app highlighted in the blog post to be the best and most utilitarian by far – but there are several iPhone and Android apps specifically designed for batching.  Any timer will work, but I recommend dedicating a specific timer or app to batching (no multi-use) – so it keeps the same psychology effect and puts you “in the zone” every time you pull it out.

        • http://keenpath.com/ Mark Mathson

          I just read this post, and first thing I checked was to see if the Android Marketplace has an app, and there are several, this one appears to have highest/most reviews: https://market.android.com/details?id=net.artifix.pomodroido.free

        • Jmhardy97

          Thank you. I had not downloaded anything yet.

          Jim

      • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

        If it breaks b/c it is cheap, just send it back and tell the company that they need to make better products. Just tell them that they need to use the technique mentioned here to make quality products! :)

  • http://LookingForPurpose.com Dylan Dodson

    I can’t say I have tried something like that before, but I can absolutely tell how it could be effective!

  • Anonymous

    Can’t wait to try this.  I fell into the multi-tasking hole a long time ago and haven’t been able to climb out yet.

    • Anonymous

      Habits only take several days of repetition to build.  Best of luck!

      • Anonymous

        Thanks

        • Anonymous

          Ok.  Sorry for the double post.  Not sure what happened.  I was using Disqus.

      • Anonymous

        Thanks

  • Anonymous

    Love this line off the cheat sheet:  “The next pomodoro will go better.”

    • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

      :)

    • Jmhardy97

      Hope so.

      Jim

  • http://twitter.com/RookieWriter David Barry DeLozier

    Just told my friends/followers to throw a tomato at time management – what a difference a marketing hook makes (like the little red tomato timer), even if it seems random it has personality! Usually time management plans show clocks and calendars or people sitting at a conference table.  This is very purple cow. 

    • http://LookingForPurpose.com Dylan Dodson

      Ha! Purple cow indeed.

  • http://beckfarfromhome.blogspot.com/ Beck Gambill

    What logical, practical advice. It so appeals to my sensibilities. I wonder if I could get my kids to buy in to the concept! They are my main source of distraction.

    • Jmhardy97

      I agree beck. I don’t know why I cannot think of simple things like this.

      Jim

  • http://chriscornwell.org Chris Cornwell

    I will definitely have to try this. Makes perfect sense. I work a corporate job, a ministry job, and then trying to publish. And family time, life, etc.

    Great post!

  • http://www.shapingdestiny.org Kenneth Acha

    I agree with this method completely. It’s funny because I have used the method on and off without knowing that there was any information  on it out there. I actually have a stop watch at home that I bought while I was a medical student. I often timed myself myself while I studied to increase my reading speed… then I also timed myself when I did other things. It really works. I’m surprised though that I haven’t been able to use it more often. I think this post has come at the good time for me. I have to make this technique a staple…
    Thank you Michael

  • http://www.danieldecker.net Daniel Decker

    I’m a batcher. : ) I have been for a while. It’s a process I adopted naturally as a business owner trying to manage multiple projects at any given time. I found that batching helped me develop laser focus and get a lot done in a short amount of time. Each day I batch and during the batches I pretend I am in a meeting so I shut off my phone(s), close email, and shut my office door. Then I hunker down and “get ‘er done.” It works.

    • Anonymous

      Daniel, batching give’s you permission to shut technology and 24/7 accessibility down.  It gives you permission to get focused and productive.  Thanks!

  • Jill Kemerer

    I have tried batching, and when I used it, I was not only more productive, but I felt accomplished at the end of the day. You’ve inspired me to give it another try. I’m not sure why I fell out of the habit, but it’s a useful one to stay in!

    • Anonymous

      Jill, depending on what data you look at, it only takes 14 repetitions (days) before building a new habit.  Good luck!

      • http://LookingForPurpose.com Dylan Dodson

        Interesting!

  • Matt

    Great post! I have tried batching using the Pomodoro Technique and found it helped to eliminate distractions and reactions. It requires intentionality and specific planning. Your comment about operating in a constant state of unfocused response summed up the past several months of busyness for me.. I seem to have fallen off the Pomodoro wagon and while I noticed immediate results when I used the technique, the rewards are for those who persevere. It’s time to work smarter. Thanks for the reminder!

  • Allen Marsh

    This is a very interesting concept. I like the 25 minute time period. I am currently working on a large project and am finding that after several hours my productivity and creativity run low. I am going to give this technique a run next week. I am also going to share it with some coworkers to see if they have success with it. Thank you as always for the productivity help!

    • Anonymous

      Thanks, Allen, good luck!

  • Elizabeth

    I’ve been doing this for years without knowing it was an actual technique, lol.  I just thought it was something I needed to do in order to keep my very easily distracted brain on task.

  • Asbel Montes

    Fantastic blog! I just forwarded this to my entire staff. I think we are all guilty of this or have been at one point in our lives. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Wonderful!

    • http://www.gospellab.com Gospel lab

      lol, now they have one more email to distract them.

      No, really it is a good article for them to read and it is good that you are trying to help your staff.  I think it is good when leaders offer solutions instead of always bashing the staff.

  • http://twitter.com/tylerandalyssa Tyler & Alyssa V.

    Glad to see a post here about time-boxing! It’s a technique that once mastered brings endless productivity. I first learned about it at the Japanese learning website AJATT: http://www.alljapaneseallthetime.com/blog/timeboxing-trilogy-part-1-what-and-why

  • http://twitter.com/gregsligon Greg Ligon

    I have used some elements of this technique over the years to accomplish things like email followup, phone calls, items related to a particular project, etc.  This is very helpful information. 

    I just started reading through David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” and working to integrate these habits as well. 

    Thanks again for the G5 Leadership access.  I signed up for David Allen’s G5 webinar in January.  I am looking forward to it.

    Greg

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      David Allen’s stuff is terrific. I have been using it for a decade.

  • Anonymous

    I do something similar to, but not as extensive as this.  I do my work in time increments like this and force myself to get up from my desk about everything 30 to 45 mintes and take a short walk or just standing up and sitting back down to break the cycle up and get refreshed.  I liked this method.  Thanks for the guest post Michael

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  • http://www.facebook.com/ctpotts Chris Potts

    Excellent post!  So very true, about multi-tasking.  I see so many people (including myself, sometimes) “brag” about the ability to multi-task, being able to “effectively” deal with all the distractions occurring around us simultaneously.  It has become a badge of honor, in a sense, for people to claim they are good at multi-tasking; yet in reality many of us don’t REALLY know what it’s like to pick a task and actually focus on it for an extended period of time, uninterrupted.  Makes me wonder how much quality of work and/or productivity suffers because of this.  Posts like this shoot that out of the sky and encourage me to rethink my work days.  Thanks!

    • Anonymous

      Thanks, Chris!  We’re taking batch processing back from the computers and robots ;-)

  • Brandon Morrell

    It seems right in line with GTD contexts. While you’re making a phone call, make the other phone calls on the list.

  • http://courseadjustments.wordpress.com B_schebs

    I would love to try to use a technique like this, as I can see how it can increase productivity. However, I don’t see a wy to use it as work, as I’m attached to a phone with calls coming n radomly that have to be answered (I work in Customer Service.)   Any suggestions for how to tweak something like this?

    • Anonymous

      Everyone can implement batching at some level, but some occupations are able to do so better than others.  If you’re an emergency worker, you cannot turn your phone or radio off.  But you can use your downtime to group similar tasks (perhaps there are several reports that need to be done, or a block of time that you can dedicate specifically to returning emails).  Customer Service can be a demanding and emotionally draining job.  Batching gives you permission to take an important reprieve to recharge and refocus.

      • http://courseadjustments.wordpress.com B_schebs

        Thanks so much for the tips. 

  • _rogerclark

    I recently discovered Pomodoro via StumbleUpon.  I downloaded the forms and have used the technique on several projects. It works! I was surprised how much I got done. I do four twenty-five minute Pomodoros with a five minute break after the first three and a twenty-five minute break after the fourth. That takes about 2.5 hours and can be easily blocked off in a morning or afternoon.  If you have a project that takes some focused intensity, I would recommend giving it a try.

  • http://jasonfountain.blogspot.com Jason Fountain

    Josh, thanks for the good info. To me, the point of this process is to be intentional. Some people us the Pomodoro Technique, others chunk, John Richardson uses 48/12. They can all be successful. The key, in my opinion, is to choose one and USE it.

    Talking about the technique or downloading all of the resources (which I did) is great, but won’t increase our productivity unless we use it. I wrote a blog post earlier this week about Matt Cutts’ 3-minute TED video about trying something new for 30 days (http://bit.ly/lZc0mN). To make this technique or any other a part of our lives, we must use it!

    • Anonymous

      Jason, you’re exactly right.  Batching requires you to get out of reactive mode and get into an intentional proactive one.  It makes you give your minutes a name and a purpose beforehand.

  • http://www.gospellab.com Gospel lab

    I am glad he used a tomato shaped timer instead of an egg shaped timer, because it is easier to say Pomodoro Technique instead of Uova Technique.

    This is an interesting technique that I should try out.  It is not always the email, phone calls, etc. that distract me , but my own brain. Being creative is both a blessing and a curse.  It makes it easy to come up with new ideas and creations, but I have a hard time trying to stay focused on one task.  It all boils down to discipline, which it looks like the Pomodoro technique helps to accomplish.

    Often multitasking is a mask I wear to cover the fact that my brain is going in all directions.

    Now my brain is telling me to learn Italian.  jk

  • Dpstevens13

    I kept being bothered by the phrase  “the distractions or interjections of others.”  In the gospels, Jesus welcomed ‘the distractions or interjections of others.’  We should be open every day to the tasks that He would want us to engage with and not be so self-serving, trying only to accomplish our agendas.  I can see where the technique has merit, but is our task only to accomplish more and more of our agenda, or should we see the needs and hurts of others as past of the unfolding daily agenda that God has for us that day?  Just some thoughts to consider, otherwise, good post to contemplate.    

    • Anonymous

      Thanks, I’ve taken some time to reflect on your thoughts.  Even Jesus needed time away from outside distractions to pray and commit blocks of very focused time to God.  Batching doesn’t mean that we turn away people who are in need – there are of course exceptions.  Batching is simply a technique that gives us permission not to allow the urgency of others or the perceived urgency of technology impede our ability to be the best we can.  Even Pastors must have time away from distraction to pray, seek revelation, research, and take care of their spiritual needs, in order to be effective instruments for God.  Great observation, I appreciate being able to chew and wrestle with it a little!

  • http://www.gospellab.com Gospel lab

    Does anyone know where I can get a tomato kitchen timer to do this technique?

    Seriously, here is a good place to find a computer timer:  http://www.online-stopwatch.com/

  • reJoyce

    Reminds me a bit of FlyLady.net for home management. She says “you can do anything for 15 minutes”.

  • Brad Nease

    This adds to and parallels “Tyranny of the Urgent” by Charles E. Hummel.  Time Blocking/Batching is a productivity requirement if you’re intentional about managing your time.

  • Pastor Cheatham

    Mike,
    I’ve used the Pomodoro Technique for a couple of years now and it is quite effective for batching. As a pastor I’m not always in a batching mode but when I set a day aside for tasks like this, I use a timer like the book says and it seems I get things done better and faster.

  • Joe Lalonde

    Josh, I enjoyed your guest post. It really gives me something to think about.

    Being an IT guy, I struggle with blocking my time as it seems my job revolves around reacting to and putting out the fires that come up.

    • Anonymous

      Joe, thanks!  Some people can integrate batching into their occupations much easier than others.  I haven’t come across an occupation yet where some level of batching can’t be implemented. I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on how to do it in the IT world after you’ve had time to process.

      • Joe Lalonde

        Joshua, you’re welcome!

        I’ve given some thought to how this could be integrated into an occupation in the IT world.

        1. Research/Training: If you’re not learning about new technology you’ll fall behind. You never know everything about a piece of software. Learning more about it will increase your value.

        2. Projects: We all have projects. Set aside blocks of time for those.

        3. Teaching: Set aside a block of time for putting together material to teach other employees. This could be creating a training video using Camtasia, a manual on how to use Microsoft Office, or shortcuts that you can use to save time in Windows.

        4. Data Management: There’s lots of data on servers. Set aside time to maintain the integrity and quantity of the data on the servers.

        If an emergency comes up, you could always put the block on hold and take care of the issue. Return later and finish up the block.

      • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

        I have been in IT (software support and development) for several years.  If your job is support, then the phone calls and emails are not distractions – they are the work and take the priority for that period of time.  You can still, though, batch other responsibilities to do in down times and between calls – which can help in the productivity arena by not having to change modes as often.

        A second important piece to this would be the work environment supported in the work-place.  Such as, a general understanding that people can be ‘unavailable’ for specified amounts of time during the day.  I am fortunate enough to have an office with a door that can be closed – to signal that I am working on something that should not be interrupted for less than something ultra-important/urgent. In an IT department with cubes, I have seen similar approaches done with techs putting on headphones, and even putting out a sign, to indicate a similar mode of work.

  • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

    This is a really cool technique! Never heard of it before, but I will try it out!

  • http://robrash.us Rob Rash

    Some great advice here. I sort of have a routine for each day, but this will really increase my productivity… I hope.

  • http://twitter.com/CoachTheresaIF Theresa Ip Froehlich

    In his bestselling book Brain Rules, research scientist John Medina  said, “Multitasking, when it comes to paying attention, is a myth. The brain naturally focuses on concepts sequentially, one at a time.” A person can walk and talk at the same time, but will not be productive while writing a term paper, instant messaging friends, updating Facebook, talking on the phone, and downloading music to the laptop all at once.

    I have proved to myself repeatedly how I can distract myself from what I set out to do. (Perhaps my old brain is not adapting to digital distractions as well as the young brains. :))

    Batching is a great technique because it provides protected time for a specific category of tasks. The listing is the goal sheet that becomes my task-master. I know I am in the dog house if I haven’t checked off the items by a certain time of the day!

    Thank you, Michael, for sharing Pomodoro with us.

  • http://somewiseguy.com ThatGuyKC

    I’ve heard of the Pomodoro technique before, but haven’t given it a try yet. Might have to “splurge” and get the iPhone app and give it a whirl.

    I think that I’m more productive than average, but I still succumb to the myth of multitasking even though I know the truth.

  • Misty

    Great article…curious why 25minutes is the time allotted? I have read other articles that say to do something for 15minutes.  I find making lists and prioritizing and sticking to it the most effective way for me to be efficient during my day.  Thanks for the reminders.

  • http://twitter.com/CoachTheresaIF Theresa Ip Froehlich

    I have a question related to writing. A lot of people like to write a bit everyday. I tend to work with huge blocks of time. (I wrote my MBA thesis in 10 days! Some people thought I was crazy.)

    Is writing in small chunks better for maximizing creativity? Or does it depend on one’s work style?

    Would love to hear from Michael and anyone who wants to share.

    • Anonymous

      Theresa, studies have shown (the Harvard Business Review has published some good stuff) that the brain works best when focused on one task, but we tend to “fatigue” at about 25 minutes or so (of course the on-set of fatigue is different for everyone) and that short breaks (about 5 minutes) is an effective way to “reboot.”  If you break for too long, however, it becomes counterproductive.  Figure out what blocks of times is optimal for you and go with it!

  • Joshua Goggans

    Great summary of the technique!

    Gigaom has a good list of digital timers – http://gigaom.com/collaboration/9-free-pomodoro-timers/

  • http://www.writerscupofgrace.com Alicia Scott

    Joshua – thanks a bunch for sharing this – very interesting….I’m always looking for ways to be more intentional with time and tasks…and finding the balance between reality & intent. :-) Thanks for this!

    • Anonymous

      Thanks, Alicia!

  • Anonymous

    I must try this technique! Joshua, thank you for sharing. Michael, thank you for hosting Joshua. 

    The irony for me is realizing how many distractions I entertained from the time I opened the e-mail with today’s post to actually making this comment. One of the distractions was to do the one-click installation of the free Google Chrome app: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/edhkjecdcakijjmlelnjjiohjmlaikhb

    • Anonymous

      Maybe you should batch your distraction into a single Pomodoro session ;-)  You’re welcome.

      • Anonymous

        No doubt! One key is creating lists (i.e. step 1), then managing myself to the list (a dynamic aspect of step 2). If it’s not on the list, I can add it to the list, not necessarily jump to it RIGHT NOW!, which is what happens when I’m not managing myself to the list. 

  • Aisha

    Awesome post! I’m always on the look out for ways to be more productive so the batching method looks like it has a LOT of potential. Can’t wait to download the app and the book. Thanks :D

  • http://seekthecity.wordpress.com Chad M. Smith

    I do this with email and prayer. I’ll set a timer on my computer or iPhone. With email I’ll give myself a goal to process a certain number. With prayer I’ll just set the timer, close all the programs on my computer and set back in my chair.

    I first tried this after listening to a podcast by Merlin Mann called Gangs, Constraints, and Courageous Blocks. You can listen to is here: http://feeds.feedburner.com/43FPodcast. What you call batching, he calls ganging. I use the term “packeting” for this process. Same idea, different words.  

  • http://twitter.com/_rogerclark Roger Clark

    I use Flowkeeper (flowkeeper.org) to keep track of the Pomodoros. Works well so far.

  • Subha Balagopal

    I am getting started with batching. I learned about it from a little gem of a book called ‘Do it Tomorrow’ by Mark Forster (http://www.markforster.net/do-it-tomorrow/). It’s worth a read. As an elementary principal, I have renewed energy for the upcoming school year. His version of the pomodoro principle is called working in timed bursts. 
    —subhabb.wordpress.com 

  • http://cynthiaherron.wordpress.com Cynthia Herron

    Wow, I always thought multi-tasking was a good thing, but this made me think twice.  Thanks!

  • Blake

    I can’t believe people who work the book industry actually misuse apostrophes. “pomodoro’s” is not a plural. It’s a possessive. In what style guide did it become otherwise?

  • http://blog.cyberquill.com Cyberquill

    What’s an “extended” 20-minute break as opposed to just a plain old 20-minute break? 

  • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

    This was a very insightful and helpful post! Thanks!

  • http://www.nicolemillerbooks.com Nicole M. Miller

    My mother had a ladybug timer exactly like the pictured tomato one. I was enamored with it while growing up and “borrowed” it upon moving into my own house. 

    Time to resurrect that ol’ ladybug! 

    This is a great post, especially to a chronic “multi-tasker” like me. To hear that multitasking decreases productivity so drastically…well I think to be completely honest I understand why! You “feel” more productive but that doesn’t necessarily translate to things actually getting done and getting done well. 

  • http://sevensentences.com Geoff Talbot

    This is awesome. I try to multitask but I realize that actually I am doing lots of little tasks in quick succession.

    My distractions are often other tasks. Is this Procrastination?

    I think in many ways I am like a predator hunting tasks like a shark would hunt a school of fish. Everything is moving, there is no easy target to focus on, so often I am distracted.

    Definitely going to try to be more like a tomato.

    Geoff Talbot
    Blogging and Commenting in Seven Sentences

    • Anonymous

      Geoff, multitasking can certainly lead to procrastination. Multitasking, more often than not, is an inability to prioritize tasks and execute. There will always be periods when multitasking is inevitable or needed. But productivity is increased measurably when balls aren’t being juggled and focus is not broken, impeded upon, or is being dictated by the urgency of others. Good luck!

  • Derek

    Great stuff.  Thank you for providing it…and thanks for the Google Chrome suggestions from the readers as well.

  • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

    I’ve found that intense bursts of focus are incredibly productive. There are a lot of theories about whether 25 minutes is the best time period, but I do best with various time periods depending on what I’m working on. The key is to make sure you limit the break time. It’s way too easy to let 5 minutes stretch into more!

  • http://stewonline.com Jason Stewart

    Thanks for the helpful post! The Focus Booster App is a helpful tool, too, for this technique that I use on my MacBook Pro (web app, too): http://www.focusboosterapp.com/

    • Anonymous

      Thanks, Jason, I’ll check it out

  • Pat Katepoo

    Another free online Pomodoro tool is found at http://e.ggtimer.com/pomodoro It’s worked for me. The challenge is to be consistent…

  • http://byrdmouse.wordpress.com Jonathan

    I use Tweetdeck but normally check it before I go to work and once I get home. I don’t miss anything during the day, but between then and the next morning I check it more often with no pattern of time of batching. Emails tend to be the same way.

  • Grandmavp

    This post is so timely for me!! Thank you so much for all the good information. Can’t wait to start implementing all the great ideas found in one place (here!) in one day! Kudos!

  • http://tonychung.ca tonychung

    Multitasking bad. However, it’s all I know. I blogged about attempting to use the pomodoro technique last November. I lasted a week.

    I thought pomodoro would help focus my ADHD brain, but alas, without constant stimulus I cannot succeed with it. However, Joshua, your article makes me want to try again. I wonder though, that as my new role requires my attendance in way too many meetings, would the pomodoro still be effective if I have to keep stopping the timer due to incessant interruptions?

    How does everyone else handle managing time around meetings?

    • Anonymous

      Tony, because most meetings are planned, you can plan your batching – in this case, your Pomodoros – around the meeting.  That’s the cool thing about batching, you’re putting a plan to your minutes beforehand.  As for your concentration, adjust the length of the Pomodoro for what works best for you.  Challenge yourself and see if you can extend the time gradually.  You have the capability to tailor the length of time for Pomodoros and breaks with the iPhone application that I highlighted in the post.

      • http://tonychung.ca tonychung

        Hey Joshua, thanks for the tips. It’s hard to schedule around meetings in the place I work because not all meetings are planned. I’m naturally an extrovert, so when conversation starts around me I feel obligated to step in, especially when my expertise would save others a lot of time. But yes, maybe 15 minute pomodoros might work for me. ;-)

  • Ryuzzi

    I was interrupted three times while reading this, and one time I forgot I was reading it and went on to another task.

    • Anonymous

      Glad you came back ;-)

  • http://twitter.com/MusicPowerStrat MusicPoweredStrategy

    I agree that “batching” can be very helpful for improving your productivity.  One action I’ve taken in the past, to help with limiting distractions, is to turn off the automatic notifications in e-mail and other tools.

    While they may be helpful at times, in many cases they tend to cause me to lose focus and I end up spending time I didn’t really need to on the particular note or notification.

    Thanks for the great articles!

    Greg

    • Anonymous

      Great idea!  Instant notification (or alerts) definitely contribute to a culture of urgency – the utility of these alerts are to break concentration and refocus attention on the email/ phone.

  • Sherri

    Wow! This sounds great. I wonder if there is an adaptation of this for people who work in crisis driven fields. I’m a hospice social worker. You know paper work makes the world go ’round, but it gets done between emergencies and other urgent episodes. I can definitely see how it would be useful at home with other responsibilities.  I’m downloading the cheat sheet!  :)

    • Anonymous

      Sherri, I’m always interested in other adaptions.  There are jobs (like yours), where it can be difficult, or impossible, to shut phone/ email/ alerts off.  I’m convinced there is always an application, but to different degrees.  I’d love to hear how it works for you!

  • http://www.walterwillis.net Walter

    Michael,
    Check out Vitamin-R. It is free to bloggers.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      This looks promising. Here’s the link to Vitamin-R. People should start with the video.

    • http://www.BartLeger.com Bart Leger

      Alas, it appears to only be for Mac.

  • Anonymous

    I work at a Wealth Coordination firm, and I’m constantly busy.  Phones are ringing and interrupting the “plan” of my day.  I keep a list of everything I have to do that day and keep it running for the week.  I can easily see the “like” tasks and tackle them together to accomplish so much more than I use to. 

    I love this concept…  may even try this one out!

  • http://twitter.com/Teeweezee Toyin Agunbiade

    I have practiced the pomodoro technique for months and my time seems well spent. It seems so because at the end of the day, I find that I have accomplished everything I set out to do. It is so important to allot time for tasks and it isn’t as hard as it seems.

    @ Pastor Cheatham: Thanks for the tip about the chromodoro 

  • http://twitter.com/Teeweezee Toyin Agunbiade

    I have practiced the pomodoro technique for months and my time seems well spent. It seems so because at the end of the day, I find that I have accomplished everything I set out to do. It is so important to allot time for tasks and it isn’t as hard as it seems.

    @ Pastor Cheatham: Thanks for the tip about the chromodoro 

  • http://www.dwaynes--world.blogspot.com Dwayne Morris

    Just picked up the app for my iPhone. I’ve used this in the past (under the brand of “Time Blocking”). I recently entered a very busy season and deviated from the system.  Thanks for bringing it back to the forefront of my planning!  The timer on the app should make it a little interesting!

  • Anonymous

    I love this concept and have been using batching since long before I knew there was a name for it.  I’m amazed at how many people jump from one task to another.  Personally, I love immersing myself in a project where I will be uninterrupted for 3-4 hours, choosing to work with no phones, no email,  and no one just popping in my door.  

  • http://twitter.com/MusicPowerStrat MusicPoweredStrategy

    Another suggestion is to mark off time on your calendar tool to specify what tasks you’re going to work on during the day for an alotted amount of time.

    Seems to help me in focusing for a period of time before I move onto the next task.  You could mark times on the calendar for e-mail or other communications as well.

    Take care,
    Greg

  • Me

    Thanks for the great hints.
    How could pomodoro help on case of distractions coming directly and continuously from one of your bosses? Especially when you have more than one boss; like three of them mostly in conflict with each other?
    Is there any kind of easily modifiable adaptable pomodoro according to the momemts’s priority?
    :) thanks

    • Anonymous

      Batching is a practice in planning, and can’t be adapted on the fly.  Those who you report to have authority and set direction.  I don’t know the specifics of your situation, but if I were in your shoes and wanted to integrate batching into my  job, I would approach my boss (or bosses) and explain how it works, specifically how I thought it would increase my productivity in specific areas, and ask their blessing to give it a shot for a few days.  Afterward, I would tell them how I felt that it went, if possible highlight some metrics that showed an increase in productivity, and ask them if they had feedback with which to provide me about my productivity on those days.  You can’t tune out your boss, so why not invite them to be a part of your integration so you’re on the same page.  By all means, share this post with them!  I would love to hear the results if you try this!

  • Colin Christensen

    error in the script.

    I clicked to send this via email to my evernote and noticed there’s a spelling mistake in the script: Descresed instead of Decreased (I believe that’s what it was).

    just thought you would want to know.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for catching that. I have now fixed it.

  • http://twitter.com/SoumangueBasse Soumangue Basse

    Love this technique..Going to start it today!

  • Legetted

    A great productivity tip, and perfectly timed. :~) Thanks!

  • Maureen Van Ness

    This is awesome; read through the Pomodoro website – looking forward to a more productive week! Thanks for this helpful info.

  • http://www.BartLeger.com Bart Leger

    It appears to be a great concept. Even for someone who doesn’t lile tomatoes. Worth a try.

  • Anonymous

    Testimonials like this one are awesome – http://www.illuminatephotography.com/blog/?p=3904 – thanks, Michael for opening up your blog which is touching lives and providing hope for so many in such unique ways.

  • Ruth

    Thanks! I keep trying (and failing!) to find a workable working method. Thanks especially for the additional tools!

  • http://www.mosaicmiamichurch.com Shari Sutherland

    Fantastic concept! Such a great idea! Im totally going to try this out! Thanks for the info!

  • Jmhardy97

    Very good post. We all can use help managing our time.

    Jim

  • Jobaker

    Good idea and I will try it out tomorrow. I seem to go from one thing to another with little success. Maybe I will use this on my girls as a way to limit computer time.

    • Anonymous

      Would love to hear how it goes for you tomorrow

  • Nicole White

    I home educate my children. Years ago I started using my own version of  Pomodoro to organize our day (I call it block scheduling). So this technique is applicable to all sorts of endeavors – even to those who’s leadership is only see within the walls of their home.

    • Anonymous

      You bring up a great point, Nicole.  Batching isn’t just for the business world, it’s applicable to home-school, college students, writers, and stay at home moms (and dads).  

  • Anonymous

    This makes perfect sense. Multi-tasking has always left me frustrated and exhausted.  Intense focus in short bursts…thanks for setting me free from the pain and misery of unhealthy multi-tasking!

  • http://www.dwaynes--world.blogspot.com Dwayne Morris

    Used my Pomodoro iPhone app today to knock out two significant task! GREATLY appreciate the reminder to narrow my organizational focus!!!  Thanks again, for adding value to my leadership!!!!

    • Anonymous

      Thanks Dwayne, great to hear the technique is working well for you.  Batch away!

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  • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

    Great ideas!  I’m going to give this a shot and see how it works out…

  • Tania

    hey! here is the timer! I have always done house work this way and it has ALWAYS worked! I spend 15 minutes in each room and go for it like a marathon! The kids get in on it too and it becomes a game – great for us busy stay at home mum’s!
    http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/NEW-tomato-cooking-kitchen-ring-timer-alarm-60M-/270591211363?pt=AU_Utensils&hash=item3f007e3763#ht_2966wt_1622

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  • turner_bethany

    I have done this kind of thing off and on at times. I need to try to be more consistent in it. Thanks for the reminder and resources. 

  • EJ Bohan

    I guess being a nursre for 30 years has paid off in more than one way.  I have done this technique, although I never had read about it, with my responsibilities as a nurse in order to get everything done for my patients. Yet, I still had to remain flexible for interruptions.  It was a life saver…literally at times.

    I carried the practice into my home, first using it with getting my cleaning done. As I saw how effective it was, I have used it for other things such as doing bills, writing personal notes, e-mail, helping my son with homework, reading, and more. I typically set my timer for 15 to 20 minutes depending on the task. For longer tasks or desired activities like reading and writing, I set the it from 30 mintutes to and hour. 

    My husband and others always wonder how I get so much done.  Although, I will admit most days are timer free, I’m so used to it and always have my watch on…now that’s being a good nurse.

    EJ Bohan

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  • http://www.orkanizer.com orkanizer.com

    You can also use for free my on-line platform for pomodoro technique: http://orkanizer.com

    I’ll wait your feedback! thank you.

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  • http://twitter.com/plantedinchrist Brandon Weldy

    I really like this! My previous employer had my section out my time each day to help me with productivity. But I would still… oh hold on my phone is ringing, let me get that…. ok now what was I saying? Right, I would still allow myself to get distracted. I like the ideas that were brought out in this article and I will be doing some more reading on Pomodoro. 
    I also liked what was said about multitasking. I had a roommate in college who would swear he did better when he was multitasking. He never could get the hang of college though and ended up dropping out. That was always a red flag for me.

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  • Dan Bolton

    I’m not sure if this has already been mentioned but I recently found a valuable yet free tool to use when batching or allowing time to focus. It’s worth checking out e.ggtimer.com

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  • http://about.me/jiggyboytheone/ jiggyboytheone

    I so like your post. So helpful. Keep on posting! :)

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  • Pddeer

    None of the above links work. Does anyone have the correct links? Thank you!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Evidently, they moved the pages. I have just updated the links. You will need to clear your browser’s cache and reload the page. You should be good-to-go. Thanks.

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  • http://twitter.com/CICinspireme Chari of CIC

    What a great post! I will try this!! Thanks!

  • Rcraig

    As a truck driver I use batching to get my load tied down and then unloaded faster didn’t know it had a name

    • Rcraig

      I also train others to be truck drivers and would never have thought of a TIMER to tie loads down we don’t get paid if we are not driving

  • http://twitter.com/LeadingEveryday Juan Cruz Jr

    This seems like a nice technique. Am an Android user, it would nice if the app came for Android. 

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  • Lausanne

    If only, if only, if only I could convince the mega-corporation that I work for that multi-tasking is terribly inefficient, I might keep my sanity. We are required to do several things at once and switch gears in an instant. The best I can hope for is to apply this TRUTH to the wee hours in the day that I actually have some control over.

  • RW

    help — The links for the Pomodoro Technique resources are empty or aren’t working.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I just double-checked them. They are all working for me.

      • Teresa Hall

        Just tried to follow them and only the book link worked. The book is available for download but is no longer free.

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  • http://sagewing.com/ Dave Hecker

    I love the pomodoro technique, and I agree that multi-tasking is usually not a good idea. But, I have noticed that in my personal case, a longer work session is usually better, and the absolute ideal is 2 x 20 minute work sessions with just a 2 minute break, then a more substantial break after that.

    I love the idea of managing one’s time so aggressively, but I think we all have different abilities to focus for long periods, etc.

  • Ella

    Great article. Though I find that being more productive also depends upon as to how better and easily you tackle all your business time. I personally like Replicon time management software which is very much hassle free and can also be quickly implemented.

    Its mobile version is also accessible from various platforms and therefore using Replicon has been a pleasure experience for me. Definitely a great app with lot of flexibility and ease to access from anywhere.