Working in intervals of 20 to 40 minutes (so-called timeboxes) interspersed with 5-minute breaks is an excellent way to increase productivity, overcome procrastination, and do something for your health at the same time. In an earlier post I have outlined some ideas on how to implement time boxing.
In the 1980s, Francesco Cirillo devised the Pomodoro Technique, a complete time management system based on the concept of timeboxing. According to him, the optimal length of a timebox is 25 minutes. He called this 25-minute interval a pomodoro. Cirillo’s technique has spawned a variety of productivity apps and timers. I’ll introduce you to one cool app below.
I have used timeboxing more or less for several years, but have also varied the work period depending on the task at hand.
If a task is very difficult or boring, starting out with only 15 minutes is fine, if that helps you to get started and avoid checking your phone. I can always do 15 minutes.
For writing, I much prefer 45 minutes of even an hour.
Recently, I got myself a Fitbit Charge 2 fitness tracker. I bought it to encourage me to move more during the day and track my sleep during the night. It also continuously tracks my heart rate and automatically recognizes and records different exercises. For example, it detects and records when I am walking, running, or using a cross trainer or treadmill and supplies stats such as duration, calories burnt, heart rate graphs…
I have come to like my Fitbit a lot – and it can help with time boxing / pomodoros as well.