Give it your best shot for just 15 minutes

A major challenge faced by people who work with a computer is how to work on a task while resisting the urge to open a browser window or watch a film. Companies have tried to address it by configuring office laptops such that social media, video streaming sites and games are inaccessible. That hasn’t really stopped the desperate. Unless you work in a customer-facing role in a bank, there is often no restriction on cellphone usage in most offices.

Tired man staring at screen
That screen had better have interesting content

The 21st century has been called the era of knowledge explosion. Our smart devices are repositories of knowledge that our ancient ancestors with their obsession for recording new experiences would have killed to have. That ease of access to information comes with a few hidden costs such as:

  1. Shorter attention span
  2. Inability to focus on a single task
  3. Feeling ill at ease when deprived from internet connection

Somewhere out there someone is trying to read this article while chatting on whatsapp. If that’s you, please continue reading, the fact that you are making the effort to learn more about productivity means you are probably willing to do something to help you focus.

One of the most effective ways, I have found to work on a single task when using a smart device is the pomodoro technique. I have written about pomodoro previously. Basically, you set a timer for 15 minutes and until those 15 minutes are over, you are allowed to only work on one task. That means you don’t sneak a peek at your phone, you don’t check your facebook account, you don’t stop to watch a 2-minute youtube video and you don’t open a browser tab that you don’t need for the task you are working on. After your 15 minutes are up, you take a five-minute break (Feel free to watch that video during this break) before setting your timer for another 15 minutes of distraction free work.

A tomato
Fun fact: Pomodoro is the Italian word for Tomato

The pomodoro technique is popular enough that a handful of apps have been developed for it. Feel free to download one for your device.

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