Productivity. Time management. Discipline. These words are used frequently throughout school and in the professional world, but as common as they are, they can be daunting themes to master.
I have been working remotely for almost a year, and while getting adjusted to this new work style I have tried little things here and there suggested to me by others who work outside of an office. While I found value in these tips, none really seemed to make a large impact on my workflow. That was until my friend pointed me in the direction of the Pomodoro Technique.
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management style that aims to provide a person with maximum focus and creative freshness with the goal of completing projects quicker and with less mental fatigue (www.lifehack.org). Being in the social media marketing industry, creativity and projects go hand-in-hand practically daily, so I was pumped to learn more about this and try it out for myself!
How It Works:
Identify a task you want to complete
Set your Pomodoro timer (a Pomodoro cycle is typically 25 minutes)
Work diligently on your task focusing on that one item
Timer goes off, you stop working
Take a 5 minute break
Reset your Pomodoro timer
A trick to keeping your Pomodoro cycles on track is to download an app on your phone specifically made for this. I use an app called BeFocused, available in the iOS store, and it beeps after 25 minutes then times my break for me as well. You can even label the different Pomodoro cycles for tracking purposes, get reports, and more.
Even though this technique is really simple, it improved my day dramatically in a short amount of time. There’s nothing worse than working on a task and noticing three hours have gone by because you’ve hopped over to your email to reply to someone about something unrelated then go back to that task to pick up where you left off. A lifehacker.com blog post about the Pomodoro Technique mentions that it helps you hyper-focus and power-through distractions. To me, this is a no-brainer for those in the social media industry.
One of my colleagues relies heavily on his calendar to keep his day in order and to keep track of time. “Basically I just hate feeling like I'm falling behind, so I schedule things in advance whenever possible. If the plan becomes outdated (more like 'when' haha), I change the plan. That's the beauty of working for Thin Pig,” he says. I tried his method and realized I was putting so much time into organizing my calendar that it was taking time away from my actual day.
Another colleague of mine said she has a hard time sticking to one task due to new incoming emails interrupting her workflow, and other items that can pop up throughout the course of a day. To combat this, she sets goals of getting 4 to 5 tasks done in a certain amount of time or gives herself a block of time to complete items on her to-do list. I found it funny how similar her process is to the Pomodoro Technique, but different at the same time.
Overall, I find it interesting that several of my colleagues and myself are all Social Media Managers working remotely, but managing our time in different ways. As you can tell, no matter what keeps us on task, time management is a must for us to survive in this industry.
Have any tips or tricks as to how you stay productive? We would love to hear your feedback! Tweet us @ThinPigMedia