(3 Minute Read or Listen Below)
How many of you have set out to accomplish a task, only to find yourself hours later not having made a dent in its completion? I'm raising my hand, too.
The root cause, for me, is usually distraction. Particularly when the task doesn't excite me, I can find anything else infinitely more interesting. And Parkinson's Law is real - work does expand to fill the time allotted for its completion. I've heard it said we get more done the more we have to do. The consensus being we are more conscious of our time and how we use it. But these days, a minefield of distractions plagues us.
One of the biggest culprits? Our phones. A 2019 study by Asurion found Americans check their phones 96 times a day, that's about every ten minutes. And that is a 20% increase from just two years earlier! But it's not surprising. Our phones are made to be distraction machines. Notifications, social media, endless videos, and bottomless search engine scrolling contribute to this statistic. The hard truth is, human attention spans have reportedly shrunk to a mere 8 seconds, while a goldfish can concentrate for 9 seconds.
These numbers indicate honing our attention to a single task for any length of time is difficult for most of us. But I'm happy to let you in on a secret - focus is a muscle you can strengthen. I've even heard attention management is the most critical skill for the 21st century. So it's worth the time and effort to improve yours. My favorite focus tool is The Pomodoro Technique®.
Pomodoro is the Italian word for tomato. The technique was invented in the early 1990s by Francesco Cirillo. As a university student, he named the system "Pomodoro" after the tomato-shaped timer he used to track his work. (The Pomodoro Technique® is a registered trademark by Francesco Cirillo.)
The gist of the technique is this:
I love this technique. It encourages focus for a finite duration, which can help combat Parkinson's Law. It's entirely customizable to your work style, and it can adjust as your ability to pay attention increases. You can design it to work for you.
We all have a lot on our plates. Give your tasks the focus and attention they deserve by using The Pomodoro Technique®. You will be amazed at what you can accomplish.
(This blog is not affiliated with, associated with, or endorsed by the Pomodoro Technique® or Francesco Cirillo.)