The Pomodoro Technique is one of the most popular time management techniques. Many people swear by it, but it also causes a lot of stress for some people as it either interrupts them when they are in a flow stage and working, or it exhausts them into dragging out work for longer than they want to work.
If you like the Pomodoro Technique, but it sometimes dreads you to do it, you should consider trying Flowtime. Flowtime is an alternative to the Pomodoro time management technique designed for people who like the idea of being focused on a single task but hate when the pomo timer goes off.
What Is the Flowtime Technique?
Since Flowtime is a twist to the Pomodoro technique, we first need to revisit the Pomodoro.
It is a time management technique based on budgeting your time into 25-minute increments and 5-minute brakes. After you have completed four work periods (called 'pomodoro'), you take a more extended – 15 to 30 minutes – break.
For a deeper dive into the Pomodoro technique, make sure to read Pomodoro: A Simple Time Management Technique to Be More Productive.
Since Pomodoro is based on 25-minute work intervals, some people may feel constrained by such short timing, meaning they are likely to get interrupted from their in-depth work sessions. On the other hand, 25 minutes can sometimes feel like forever, as some tasks take a lot less time, meaning that you would have to either stretch out the assignment or break the Pomodoro.
Two exceptional use cases for the Pomodoro technique are all those tasks that you do not like doing or that do not require a lot of thought. Pomodoro works with these types of tasks because it rewards you at each Pomodoro, which is a little push of encouragement all of us sometimes need.
However, if you are working on tasks that require you to be innovative, creative, or solve a particular problem, the Pomodoro technique might fail. Limiting how much time you have to do these tasks could prevent you from entering a flow state, which means you will not be able to tap into your full potential.
How Flowtime Solves One of Pomodoro's Problems?
Flowtime works like this: You start by writing down a single task you plan will focus one during one Flowtime session. Next, you write down the time you begin working on the task and then work on that one task until you feel you need a break.
Since you do not have to race against a clock to finish your task, all you have to do is focus on the work. When you start feeling tired, or your mind starts wandering off, it is time to take a break.
It is up to you to determine the length of the break. Most suggest you take a five-minute break for all the work that lasts under 25 minutes. For work that is over 25 but under 50 minutes, take an eight-minute break. If you have worked for over 50 but less than 90 minutes, take a ten-minute break. And finally, if you have worked for more than 90 minutes, it is suggested that you take a 15-minute break.
However, Flowtime's rules are not strict, so you are free to choose a break time that works the most for you.
Tools and Tips to Help You With Flowtime
Most humans can easily get distracted, as the sheer number of potential distractions surrounding everyone these days is huge. No matter if it is your phone, emails, people, or temptations to check your Instagram, we all have our weaknesses. Flowtime and other time management techniques will not work if you let distractions get in your way.
The best way to ensure that this does not happen to you is to learn to block out the distractions and manage interruptions. Here are some ways you can do that:
Only keep the browser tabs you need for that task open, close all the rest. The more tabs you have open, the more easily will be for you to get distracted by other stuff.
Turn off the notifications for all email, Slack, and other instant messaging services or keep them in Do Not Disturb mode. This will stop all the constant distractions that come from those nagging notifications and you will be able to keep your focus on work.
Keep your phone away from your eyesight, or at least keep it in Airplane mode. The same as turning off your notifications, you will not pick up your phone constantly to check new notifications.
"Eat that frog" or start by working on your biggest, hardest, or most important task first. By getting it out of the way first, the rest of your tasks will feel like a breeze.
If you are looking for software and tools to help you create a less distracting work environment, make sure to check out this awesome list from Caveday.
Benefits of Flowtime
The most significant benefit of Flowtime is the previously mentioned flow state. Other benefits of Flowstate include the ability to easily use Flowtime data for time tracking and figuring out how much time it takes you to complete specific tasks. Knowing how to track computer usage time can prove beneficial for Flowtime as it will help make your time tracking efforts even more straightforward.
If one of your goals with time management is to be productive for a certain number of hours per day, it is easy to pull that off if you know how to track computer usage and use the Flowtime technique.
Flowtime can also help you keep track of distractions if you add a third column next to the time you stopped working. Additionally, if you work at different places or at different times of the day, Flowtime and knowing how to track computer usage time can help you figure out where and when you are most productive.
Flowtime is a perfect example of how to take something that many people already use and modify it so that more people are now able to enjoy it. Time management techniques were designed in the first place to disrupt the way people were doing work up until that point.
Be sure to give Flowtime a try, even if Pomodoro works for you. Who knows, a Flowtime and Pomodoro hybrid might be perfect for you and your needs.