Focused Work


During my Change Your Relationship to Time class, I talked about how important work breaks are for focus and energy. A regular break schedule is helpful if you can do that. Research says the maximum people can stay focused is 90 minutes. So if that is you, you can take your breaks every 90 minutes.

My attention span isn’t that long, so I love the Pomodoro Technique – 25 minute focused work sessions with a 5 minute break.

What does a focused work session look like?

  • No checking Facebook or YouTube.
  • No checking your phone or email.
  • Staying with one task until complete or you have your break.
  • No multi-tasking.
  • Giving your task will get your full attention.
  • Not interrupting yourself.
  • Writing down any other tasks you think of as you are doing your Pomodoro instead of switching tasks.

This method also makes sure you are breaking tasks and projects down into small enough chunks (no more than 25 minutes). A great anti-procrastination technique.

I used to think that this was so lazy taking a break after only 25 minutes. But, when I don’t my mind wanders. I start to read on Facebook. I say, “What would a quick check of my email do?” Next thing you know I have fallen down the rabbit hole and lost an hour of work time. I either take a planned break or my mind decides to take a break for me. The second way is less productive for me.

You can use a simple timer, or an app to time your sessions. I use my kitchen timer since I work from home.

To begin your Pomodoro:

  1. Choose a task you want to do.
  2. Set the timer for 25 minutes.
  3. Work on your task and stay focused.
  4. When the timer goes off congratulate yourself and write down a checkmark for one completed Pomodoro.
  5. Take a 5 minute break.
  6. After 4 Pomodoros take a longer 15-30 minute break.

Don’t know what do do on your breaks? Here are some 5 minute relaxation ideas.

This is just one method for work and breaks. You can modify the time based on your level of focus. The good news is he more you practice focusing, the easier it becomes.


Photo by Mark Hunter



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