Take Action to Inspire Productivity

blog032715Today’s blog topic is “Take action to inspire Productivity”. Let’s begin by breaking down the components of this idea …

Action
As a verb, action means “put in effect”.

Inspire
As a verb, I like these definitions for inspire: “heighten or intensify”; “supply the inspiration for”; “spur or encourage especially by cheers or shouts”; and “fill with revolutionary ideas.”

Productivity
As a noun productivity is “the quality of being productive or having the power to produce.”

As I researched this topic, I was vastly disappointed by what I saw and read. Inspirational videos saying they will instantly pump up my motivation and boost my productivity. Sounds painful. Take a gander at some of these headlines:

  • Maintain an open door policy and brainstorm new ideas
  • Give your staff proper training for continuous learning
  • Champion recognition as well as accountability
  • Encourage creative environments

Really. I never thought of those.

I want something tangible, that I can take to my team in the next 5 minutes and say “here’s something pretty neat, let’s give it a try. We will meet back in a week to review.”

I present “The Pomodoro Technique,” by author Francesco Cirillo.

The concept is simple: work in short, focused bursts of 25 minutes duration followed by a 5 minute break and use a kitchen timer to track your time. Note: since a lot of us work with computers and other electronic devices, there are timer apps, including a Pomdoro app that is handy, too.

The Pomodoro Technique will help your team in the following 4 ways:

  1. Work with time – not against it.
  2. Eliminate Burnout
  3. Manage Distractions
  4. Create a Better Work/Life Balance

How does it work?

  1. Choose a task you’d like to get done. Prepare to give that task your full, undivided attention.
  2. Set the Pomodoro for 25 minutes. Do not interrupt yourself, say “I promise.”
  3. Work on task until the Pomodoro rings. If you realize you have something else to do or are interrupted by someone wanting your valuable time, make a quick note of it to tackle at the appropriate time. (which is NOT NOW, because you promised in step 2)
  4. When the Pomodoro rings, put a checkmark on a paper. You can be proud of your uninterrupted Pomodoro on said task.
  5. Take a short break (not work-related). Your brain will thank you later.
  6. Many projects may take more than one Pomodoro. If you complete 4 Pomodoros, you can take a longer break. 20 or 30 minutes is recommended and again your brain will appreciate the time to assimilate new information and rest before the next round of Pomodoros.

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Once you get the hang of using the Pomodoro Technique, you can take action to inspire productivity.

  1. Find out how much effort an activity requires. No more wondering where the time went.
  2. Cut down on interruptions. RESPECT the Pomodoro! Learn how to handle interruptions.
  3. Estimate the effort for activities. This helps with planning tasks.
  4. Make the Pomodoro more effective. Adjust to maximize efficiency. Become a Certified Pomodoro Master.
  5. Set up a timetable. This is critical in the work/life balance and maximizing the use of your brain and time (productivity).
  6. Define your own objectives. Learning how you work with various tasks will allow you to tweak your Pomodoro to gain the most effective use of your time.

I love it. Easy for everyone. Improves productivity immediately and it’s fun to do.

At our next staff meeting, I am going to introduce the Pomodoro technique to my team.

For the latest in tangible solutions, please see Take Action to Inspire Productivity at A Better Leader.

Tell us what you think.  Tweet us @abetterleader.

Chris Craddock

As the leader of Projections' production team, Chris loves to inspire others to perform at the highest levels! From the most challenging leadership opportunities to brainstorming the latest topics leaders want to learn about, Chris provides clear direction and vision.