Alternate Pomodoro method to build up longer focus sessions

Here is my method for building up longer focus times. First is that you have to be honest with yourself about how long you can sit down to focus at the present time. We all have our good days, but overall if we have built bad habits around multitasking and slacking off then they need to be addressed. This is what I have used to build back my ability to focus and effectively use my day. We will start from the bottom, and assume you have little to no focus ability. A great tool for this is the Pomodoro method.

Traditionally the way to use Pomodoro is 25 min of focus with a 5 minute break. This has worked for me in the past but I found that is not sustainable, as you can get carried away and fill an entire day with a ton of work. A few days in you are itching for some more time to yourself. You want to get revenge and steal back the hours that you lost from ‘working’. My strategy is to build up slowly and try to quell that need to ‘steal’ your time back from the week. 

Take Longer Breaks!

If we allow ourselves to have a decent break from work, or hard tasks, we can use that time as a recharge and not completely drain ourselves by the end of day two or three. I recommend 15 minute breaks. Starting with 15 minutes of work, and then 15 minutes of break time. And ramp up from there. 

Work Time (Minutes) Break Time (Minutes)

Starting slow is important, and keeping the simple idea that any progress is good progress! We can guilt ourselves about how 15 minutes is too long, we could be doing other stuff, but I know I have wasted much more time doing a lot worse things! The second feature to this strategy is taking good breaks. The goal with breaks is to stay in the pocket of focus. Remember we are building our ability to ‘dial in’.

Good Break Ideas:

This method will bring to your awareness how sensitive we are to stimulation and how it can throw off the balance of focus. When you fall off the path, you can easily jump back in by starting at the bottom and working your way back up. 

©Larry Buffaloboy