How to Increase Productivity with the Flowtime Technique

How flowtime and Pomodoro are related

Flowtime is in many ways a direct “successor” of the famous “pomodoro” timer – a technique in which it is necessary to divide time into 25 minutes of work and 5 minutes of rest.

The author of the new approach, Zoe Reed-Beevens, noticed that such labor segments often knocked her down, reduced productivity and distracted her from work. Then she decided to create her own system that would take the best from Pomodoro, but not abruptly interrupt the workflow.

At the same time, the two techniques share several key points:

  • Time tracking . Flowtime follows the same philosophy as Pomodoro, but offers a more flexible system that you can customize.
  • Opting out of multitasking . Both approaches imply that it is better to spend energy on one task at a time, instead of spreading it over several tasks.
  • Regular breaks . Only, unlike Pomodoro, flowtime does not imply a fixed rest time. You can take a break anytime you want.

Take note 🍅⏰

How to use the flowtime technique

1. Prepare a schedule

It will help you keep track of your daily tasks. You can take notes on your phone or notepad. The main thing is that the schedule should have several main points:

  • task name;
  • the time you started doing it;
  • completion time of the task;
  • time spent on distractions;
  • total working time;
  • total break time.

This pattern will allow you to find a comfortable pace. Once everything is ready, move on to the next steps and remember to fill out the schedule as you work.

2. Select a task

It must be clear. For example, don’t set yourself the goal of “painting all the walls in the house”, but replace it with “paint one wall in the living room”. When performing a complex task, it is difficult to maintain attention and maintain efficiency for a long time. It is better to break the work into small, but manageable, realistic steps .

3. Get started

Add a task and the time you started it to your schedule. There is only one rule that cannot be broken here – no multitasking . Focus on one thing and try to minimize any distractions.

4. Take breaks

You can work on the task for as long as you want. The main goal of flowtime is to help you find your pace and break your workflow into segments that are convenient for you. If after 15 minutes you feel tired , take a break. And if you are truly passionate about what you are doing and understand that you don’t need a break, then keep working until you are done.

You will most likely notice that the longest non-stop period possible is around 90 minutes. Researchers call this “ultradian rhythm”—every hour and a half, we naturally switch between work and play. That is why breaks are necessary. The main thing is to take them when you really need them.

5. Keep a schedule

Don’t forget to write down your breaks there. Rest as much as you need, but don’t get too carried away, otherwise productivity will drop significantly.

Take the Pomodoro Technique as a base and tweak it to your liking. In the “pomodoro” timer, every 25 minutes of work alternate with 5 minutes of rest. And if your working period increases, then the rest period should also. It is better to calculate the time in direct proportion, for example, after 50 minutes of work, allow yourself to do nothing for 10 minutes. Don’t forget to set a timer to record the start and end times of your breaks.

At the end of the week, compare your schedule for all the past days. You will surely notice certain patterns in your work. Let’s say you work the longest before lunch or are more likely to be distracted an hour before the end of the working day. This information will allow you to competently plan work for the next seven days. For example, do the most difficult tasks during the period of maximum productivity, and small ones – at times when you are most absent-minded.

6. Fix distractions

Even the most resilient and productive people get distracted from time to time to scroll through Instagram feed* or watch YouTube cat videos. Sometimes work is interrupted by new business – an urgent phone call, an unexpected letter, a sudden call on Zoom. When this happens, put it into your schedule. Try to spend the minimum amount of time on such matters so as not to scatter attention.

7. Repeat from the beginning

To successfully apply the flowtime technique, you need to repeat all the described steps until the problem is solved. As soon as you finish work, fix the time in the schedule. And at the end of the day, calculate how many hours and minutes everything took.

The main thing is to regularly monitor the time and fill out the schedule. Subsequently, it will help to correctly schedule the day and significantly increase productivity.

Perhaps you feel absolutely comfortable using the Pomodoro technique. But if you are constrained by its clear framework, try switching to the flowtime system for at least a week. It is possible that it will be much better combined with your style of work.

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*Activities of Meta Platforms Inc. and its social networks Facebook and Instagram are prohibited in the territory of the Russian Federation.

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