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In one of my previous articles from a few days ago, I talked about how I improved my daily productivity by using an app called "focus to do" and I said if anybody is interested and wants me to make an article about it, they should mention it in the comment section and some people did, and that's what this article is all about.
If you are having a problem with focusing on important tasks every day because you easily get distracted, then this app and its technique will solve half of that problem, the other half totally depends on you; will you be disciplined enough to stick to the technique? If yes, then you should be able to boost your productivity by using this app. Before I start, what's this technique all about?
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management system that encourages people to work with the time they have—rather than against it.
I have been hearing about this technique for a while but I never paid any attention to it because I believe I didn't need it. I had to use it when I was writing an article for Hive that focused on self-improvement and I have been using it since that day. How exactly does this technique work?
If you're working on a big task, divide that task into a 25-minute block of time each and set 5 minutes of break after every 25 minutes. It might sound confusing at first but hold on I will explain it with an example. If you want to read articles on readcash for about 2 hours and you don't want any distractions, this is how you will use the Pomodoro technique:
Read articles for 25 minutes.
once it's 25 minutes, stop and take a 5 minutes break.
come back after the 5 minutes break and continue reading for another 25 minutes
take another 5 minutes break.
Repeat this two more times (25 minutes work and 5 minutes break) and after the fourth 25-minutes work, take a longer break between 20 to 30 minutes before moving to another task.
That 25 minutes of work is called a Pomodoro, which means 25 minutes = 1 Pomodoro. After 4 Pomodoros, take a longer break between 25 to 30 minutes. One important thing to note while working for 25 minutes is that you're not allowed to get distracted, you have to be fully focused on the task and ignore every distraction.
Don't reply to that telegram message, don't open the Facebook notification that just popped up, your favorite celebrity just released a new video on Instagram? Don't check the notification, don't open it, you should only focus on what you're doing for that 25 minutes, once the 25 minutes is up and you're taking a break, then you can check your notification and reply messages but you should make sure to come back to the task once your 5 minutes break is over.
But to be honest, won't it be cumbersome to keep track of the 25 minutes of work and 5 minutes of break all the time? It might even become more stressful than the actual task we are working on! That's where to focus To-Do app comes in: it helps you keep track of those times and alerts you when the time is up. You can download the app from playstore, just click on that link.
After entering the app, tap that top left corner to open the menu, this is where you can create new projects that you want to focus on for the time being. But first, we should check out the settings. Tap the top left icon that says "sign in" to open the settings.
From here you can adjust different things but the ones we are interested in are shown in the picture above. It's advisable to leave the Pomodoro length at 25 minutes and the short break should be 5 minutes but the long break can be between 15 minutes to 30 minutes. I chose to use 30 minutes. Then the "long break after" should be 4 Pomodoros. You can also play with other things in the settings like the alarm but you can come back to that later.
Go back to the menu and add a project. Choose a name for it and pick any color you want, then click on done. Once it has been created, click on the project and now it's time to add tasks.
You can add any task to the project you created but I just added the things I do every day: blogging and coding. These two are the most important tasks for me daily and they take up most of my time. Just click on add task to add a new task.
Once you start typing, a toolbar shows up at the top of your keyboard. This is where you set the number of Pomodoros you want to use and in this case, I selected 4. But what if you don't want to use 4? You can either combine 2 tasks to make sure it's 4 Pomodoros (or more) or you can use any Pomodoro number you want, even if it's one (25 minutes).
Once it has been created, click on the task to open it. From the new page that opens, you can add different things to the task but the one we want is "repeat". You can set it to repeat this task every day so you won't have to be creating it every time.
Once everything has been settled, you can click on that circle at the bottom of the screen to open the dashboard, and from there you can select a task and start the timer.
Just click on the box at the top to choose from the tasks you created and click on "start to focus". Once it starts counting, you must focus on your task and avoid all distractions. I sometimes put my phone in "do not disturb" mode, so if any notifications come in, I won't be notified until I turn that mode off.
The app will alert you once the 25 minutes is up, then come back to it and start the break. The break usually lasts for 5 minutes and once it's over, come back to the app to start another 25 minutes cycle. You can choose not to go through this process of creating a task if you want and just start the timer, this is especially useful if you don't know how long a task will take.
I found out today that most features in the app are only free for a week (or maybe 2 weeks). For example; the "repeat" feature I mentioned earlier can no longer be used once the free trial period is over, this is the same for a lot of other features. But there's a much simpler app you can use instead of this one and it's called Pomodoro timer lite and I think I will have to switch to this one.
The Pomodoro technique is very effective but unfortunately, it won't work in all situations and it might not work for you. I don't use it in everything I do daily because it doesn't work well with some tasks but for the ones I do use it, I'm always focused and don't pay attention to distractions. What I love about Pomodoro is that aside from pushing you to stay focused on a task, it also makes you take breaks.
Some of us don't know how to take breaks, we sit in front of a computer for several hours without taking our eyes off it and that's not exactly healthy. But with this app, you are made to take a break and it's best to just take a walk around when on the 5 minutes break, it's a good way to exercise your legs and help you to rest your eyes. If you are doubtful about how effective the Pomodoro technique is, then read this article about someone who didn't believe in it at first but is now a big fan of it 😉