Beyond Pomodoro – 90 Minute Focus Blocks Help You Work Smarter and Be More Productive

Feb 26

Beyond Pomodoro –  90 Minute Focus Blocks Help You Work Smarter and Be More Productive

I’ve written before about how I use the Pomodoro technique to help me stay on task when I’m writing or working. Without that structure I tend to allow more interruptions into the work or the though processes around the work. I’ve found the Pomodoro to be useful when I need short bursts of time to complete a task, such as checking in with email or social media.

But sometimes I like to work on something a bit more substantial, such as a long blog post or even a book. I may be listing on eBay or Amazon and want to stay focused and in the moment for a while. This is when I use focus blocks.

Why Use a Focus Block?

I read about this on Steve Pavlina’s personal development blog. His research indicates that most people do about 90 minutes of work in a day. The rest of the time they’re taking breaks, talking to co-workers, going to meetings, or handling personal business.  By using focus blocks, someone can get more work done in a shorter amount of time.

How I Used Focus Blocks to Finish my To-Do List

I finished my to do list last week by using focus blocks of 90 minutes each. This was my usual schedule.

9:30 am – First 90 minute block, writing blog posts for the upcoming week. My goal is to get three to four written in this time period.

11 am – Lunch break

12 pm – Work on special project. These are projects that relate to my three main business goals for the year. I choose one project to work on. This can be educational or research as well.

1:30 pm – Break

2:00 pm – List on eBay. At this point I’ve done a lot of mental work and I’m ready to do something different. One of our business goals is to get 500 items into our eBay store. We have things ready to go and set aside, they just need to be listed. So I go to my eBay area and get going. Sometimes I play a podcast or music while I list.

3:30 pm – Break

4:00 pm – This is typically where I start to lose my momentum and I’m ready to be done, so I pull up the pomodoro timer on my phone and use it to keep me on track for this last leg of the day. This is when I check email, get on social media, schedule some social media posts, maybe listen to another podcast. It’s the work with the least amount of brain power needed and it allows me to start slowing down for the end of my work day.

5:30 pm – Done for the day. I check my list to see what I want to focus on tomorrow.

Use, Tweak and Clarify

So far this has worked well, and I’m going to continue with this schedule and tweak it as needed. I may change it up depending on meetings and phone calls, but by keeping this schedule last week I had two weeks of blog posts ready to go by the end of the week and I’d done a lot of planning and clarifying of my special projects.

Share Your Thoughts

Have you used a focus technique like pomodoro or focus blocks to stay on target? Let me know in the comments or get in touch on Facebook or Twitter.



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