Trying to become more productive is a fight against distraction – and that battle is especially tough when you work on a computer, with every distraction of the internet at your fingertips.
Pomodoro is a time-management technique that at first sounds the stuff of buzzword-spouting marketeers and people who make a living creating motivational YouTube videos. But we’ve tried it and, with a bit of discipline, it can be very useful.
It splits up your work day into short chunks of 25 minutes or so, the idea being that you work hard, then have frequent short breaks to avoid whittling away all your attention reserves. There are many phone apps that do the timing bit for you, including ClearFocus (iOS / Android), Clockwork Tomato (Android) and Goodtime (iOS / Android).
If that’s not for you there’s another technique, of trying to get yourself in a ‘flow’ state where you’re just too deep into the task at hand to be swayed by distractions. This can be great for writing.
An app like brain.fm, which offers ‘AI-generated’ music to help you focus or relax in lengthy two-hour chunks, can occupy parts of your brain just enough to make it easier to find your flow – or, if that sounds too flowery, to just keep you from looking at Twitter every 10 minutes.