Stronger Mental Health & Powerful Productivity
Updated: Sep 13, 2020
Pomodoro Technique Vs. Deep Work
If you use a hammer to cut a piece of wood it'll unlikely be effective. Which tools we use ultimately depend on the task at hand, and most importantly your unique individual goals. The level of skill you have with a specific tool needs factoring in too.
Essentially, the Pomodoro technique or deep work are tools and methods, if used correctly and purposefully, will make sure you get things done. Why would we choose specific tools? Mainly for efficiency and effectiveness because it boils down to time-sensitivity. We all have twenty-four hours every day. What we choose to do with this time is up to us. What will you do with your time and have you been as effective you can be? We all have unlimited potential and how we tap into this is definitely important.
What will you do with your time and have you been as effective you can be?
Ok, so what is 'The Pomodoro Technique' and why did you see an image of tomatoes?
It's a time-management method and prioritising tool helping to keep you on-track with specific tasks. Developed by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980's The Pomodoro Technique advocates working in set intervals based on a tomato kitchen timer, hence 'pomodoro' which tomato in Italian.
There are four main steps:
Set timer for 25 minutes one Pomodoro
Focus 100% on the specific task at hand
Once the timer rings take a short break 5 minutes
Repeat steps 1 through 3 for four Pomodoro's
Once you've completed 4 rounds of 25 minutes (Pomodoro's) take a longer break 15 minutes then restart the process from step 1
Using the Pomodoro Technique is important because doing so:
• Enables you short bursts of intense focus
• Allows you to work on specific short-term goals
• Ensures resting and refreshing to allow processing of knowledge
Conversely, what is 'Deep Work' ?
It's a method of time-sensitive working that emphasises how critical energy and focus is about choosing high-leverage tasks. Coined by Cal Newport Deep work is a way to divide your finite resources to yield the best results. It's said that distraction is the enemy of productivity and so with deep work distraction is purposefully omitted.
Using the Deep Work method is important because doing so:
• Almost eliminates distraction
• Enables focus on high-leverage activities
• Ensures effective use of high energy
Deep work suits entrepreneurs and remote-working because it promotes value-creating activities within a chosen environment. The Pomodoro Technique is good for students learning anything new or completing course work.
Did you know? 'a study by the University of Sussex found that constantly trying to multitask damages your brain. Furthermore, trying to multitask can effectively reduce productivity by 40% while increasing your stress levels' - Source
I used to use my iPhone as timer for The Pomodoro Technique for completing coursework although I didn't stick to the timing because I'd hastily procrastinate on social media via the digital 'timer'. I found a fix by getting a mechanical tomato kitchen timer, works a treat! The metallic ringing sound of the bell certainly gives a powerful burst of non-digital music to those procrastinating ears! It serves to break the algorithmic dopamine hits injected by social media induced addiction.
Ok, so how can we use these tools for powerful productivity? If you're a student then it's more likely you'll opt for the Pomodoro Technique. Are you an entrepreneur or remote-worker? Perhaps Deep Work for you. Having said this, life changes and we must adapt so an entrepreneur will need to learn something new or a student will need to create value in some way. Choosing the right tool for your needs is important here; use a hammer for a nail, but do your best to not view everything as a nail! Discernment is key.
What specific solutions will help you to refine your skills in using your chosen tools?
• Use a mechanical timer - connect with your physical environment
• Be strict with intervals and rest periods - to the second!
• Turn your phone off - no social media or pinging notifications
• Put headphones on with music, or not
• Schedule in allocated blocks of time for deep work
• Prepare your immediate environment so it's conducive to calm and focused deep work
• Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated
• Meditate before starting
• Think deeply, openly and creatively with non-attachment to the outcome
• Ask a colleague to keep you accountable
For both tools you can use the If-When-Then method to trigger better habits such as:
If I have a cup of coffee in the morning when I'm waking up then start the timer for the first sip. Or, If I start thinking about mundane admin task when I'm doing deep work then take three deep breaths to reset your thinking back to creative thoughts.
If you're constantly distracted mentally or physically for whatever reason - when life happens, then perhaps book an AirBnB for a day or two and lock yourself away from the world so that all distractions are gone. You'll be amazed how powerful productivity can be.
In addition, it's my duty as a citizen of the World to share awareness of use of language such as 'versus' because two seemingly opposing ideas juxtaposed, as I have done here, doesn't mean that one is better than the other, like humans for humanity we are equal. No one is better than the other. I like to promote the idea of AND because you can hold an opposing view, idea, or opinion AND respect the other person or perspective. It's a choice. The Pomodoro Technique AND Deep Work are both of value depending on your end goal. What is your end goal?
“Professional activity performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate.” - Cal Newport
Final thoughts and suggestions are to ask a super-challenging question to yourself, then take three deep breaths, choose a tool to practice using and get to building your life's work, now! You'll be surprised at the power of your brain and mind. Do it.
You have a choice of how to spend your limited time on Earth, choose wisely because daily choices and habits influence our mental health more than we may realise.
Bonus suggestion: Practice collaborative deep work because it doesn't all have to be a solo effort.
Please feel free to let us know how you go.