After more than a year of hype around remote work, there’s still debate around productivity. Is it any better with remote work? Do people deliver quality work on time only when they’re working in the office? The debate will continue, but productivity woes don’t have to. There are many methods to keep your “work from home” adrenaline at a high and your procrastination away. One technique that helps boost productivity is the Pomodoro technique that everyone’s talking about and using. But is this the only method to boost productivity? There are many Pomodoro technique alternatives too. So what are we talking about? Let’s switch the productivity boost mode on and dive right into the answers.
What is The Pomodoro Technique?
It’s not always famous scientists and philosophers from the seventeenth century who come up with all the golden words of wisdom. There are always alternatives for motivation. Nike did it with its “Just Do It” slogan.
But how do you just do it?
One productivity-boosting method that helps you focus on your work without distractions is the Pomodoro Technique. Many remote workers and teams widely use it.
Francesco Cirillo developed this interval-based method in the eighties.
The Pomodoro technique breaks up your workday into 25-minute sections. Then, each of these sections is separated by five-minute breaks. Pomodoro is the name given to these 25-minute intervals of work (one work interval = one Pomodoro) and are periods of “extreme focus.” This kind of segmentation helps people understand the value of time, where every minute counts.
What does Pomodoro mean? It’s Italian for “tomato”! When Francesco Cirillo devised this technique, he picked up a tomato-shaped timer to start timing his work intervals. Hence, the name.
Image credits: Todoist
Why does this technique work?
With 25-minute work intervals throughout the day, it becomes easier for you to break big tasks into bite-sized chunks. It helps you take the first step towards a task rather than procrastinating and getting overwhelmed by its size. Work on your projects and tasks - one Pomodoro at a time. It is great for those who like to organize everyday tasks in their job and for those remote employees who work two jobs at the same time.
It’s simple and effective for many but is it the only time-management X productivity method remote teams can rely on? No.
Not everyone likes tomatoes! That’s why there are many Pomodoro technique alternatives that you can try for your remote team.
3 Pomodoro Technique Alternatives To Boost Your Remote Team’s Productivity
Getting Things Done
The name could already give you a sigh of relief. Developed by David Allen and featured in his book “Getting Things Done,” this productivity method is discussed everywhere. From seminars to classes and mobile apps, the technique is being adopted everywhere.
The science behind this method focuses on getting all the tasks and ideas out of your head as fast as possible. Once this is done, it becomes easier to manage and organize them.
Image credits: Datopian Playbook
The method suggests finishing small tasks first and then moving to the bigger tasks breaking them into smaller parts. According to studies, completing smaller tasks first makes people happier and motivated, leading to better productivity.
A quote by Langston Hughes from his book “The Big Sea” perfectly summarizes this technique,
“...the only way to get a thing done is to start to do it, then keep on doing it, and finally you'll finish it,....”
While it is a good Pomodoro technique alternative, it comes with its disadvantages. With a lot of focus on “getting done” with the tasks, the lines between being busy and being productive might get blurred. You wouldn’t want your remote team to become a task-churning machine without any thought given to quality and consequences.
Just like the Pomodoro technique, it might or might not work for everyone. We’re all wired differently, and that’s why we think, feel, react, and do everything differently. Funnily enough, human beings exhibit many similar behavioral patterns too. Finding those similarities and differences in your remote team will help you figure out the technique that works the best. Trial and error lead the way. Why not give it a shot?
Games. I’ve always been a fan of them, especially when there’s some positive consequence attached to them.
What have games got to do with boosting productivity? Won’t they distract remote teams instead? Here, we will discuss games, not in the literal sense but gamification of the productivity process.
One such visually appealing productivity-boosting app is the Forest app. It is similar to a Pomodoro timer, but there’s a visual element, a sense of responsibility, and an environmental reward as gratification.
Forest has a unique feature: when the app’s timer starts, a digital tree starts growing. The tree dies when you use your phone. It is an excellent way to keep oneself away from distractions such as social media notifications, emails, and personal messages and calls. Forest also comes with a Chrome extension that blacklists websites that could prove to be distractions to your office work.
It covered the visual element of the digital tree and the sense of responsibility to keep it alive by sticking to your tasks, but what about the environmental reward as gratification?
If you stay on track without getting distracted, you grow your digital trees and start accumulating gold coins. By saving enough gold coins, you can plant a real tree in the real world for free!
Image credits: Mobile App Daily
- You’re helping yourself stay productive.
- You’re staying focused and accountable.
- You’re strengthening your willpower.
- You’re helping the environment.
Why is it a great Pomodoro technique alternative?
Apps like Forest convert the boring, imaginary Pomodoro into interesting, visual elements. In this case, the digital trees that you can see grow when you finish tasks. Moreover, Forest attaches a “feel good” element to productivity, seeing it as a positive experience.
For some people, timers and lists are stressful (I’m one of those people). Apps like Forest convert the negative and stressful experience into a positive one for people like me. It could work great for your remote teams too. I’d rather work towards growing a digital tree (a pleasant and positive experience) rather than hyperventilating my way through to-do lists + overdosing on axing tasks one after the other.
Visual apps aren’t principally separate from the Pomodoro technique. However, the entire experience and the incentive to see something grow virtually and then plant a real tree eventually can create a whole new level of motivation in some people. Try it out.
The Eisenhower Method
It sounds straight out of a science lab! But don’t be intimidated by that name because, ironically, the method is really simple and could prove to be quite effective for your remote team.
The “Eisenhower Box” was developed by Dwight D. Eisenhower in an attempt to simplify work and focus on long-term goals. The method focuses on prioritization.
What’s the Eisenhower Box?
Image credits: Clockwise
This is a four-square table to help users segregate tasks to be done with the ones that need to be delegated. It’s an effective long-term strategy as your work is rooted in priorities, and your time will be spent wisely. Instead of executing every task yourself, you’ll be able to delegate those tasks that don’t need your direct attention.
The Eisenhower method is perfect for those who find it difficult to determine the value of each task or project. In addition, it’s an effective Pomodoro technique alternative for those remote employees who aren’t good with long-term planning. Finally, this method gives you a snapshot of what lies ahead of you so that you can create a roadmap towards accomplishing your goals.
When it comes to short-term planning, the Pomodoro technique wins. That’s why it is best to combine the two in a way that works for your remote team.
You can go about setting your remote team for better productivity in the following manner:
- First, use the Eisenhower Method to set up weekly goals.
- Then, break these goals down into bite-sized tasks.
- Use the Pomodoro Technique or one of the Pomodoro technique alternatives to accomplish everyday tasks to achieve the weekly goal finally.
Focus On Finding A Balance
Remote teams thrive on motivation, trust, and recognition. A combination of all three comes from leaders and managers who understand what drives each team member. Incentivizing each employee with what truly makes them happy works wonders for an organization. Similarly, finding the right way to do daily tasks and achieve long-term goals as a team is essential. You can try out these Pomodoro Technique alternatives with your remote team to find out your team’s sweet spot.
To ensure you get buy-in from your team before you begin, it may be best to use webinar software to have a company-wide meeting and let them know that you’ll be trying new techniques to help them become more focused and productive. If you do this, they won’t be taken aback by the new initiative and will understand the reason for new policies.
Striking the right balance between now and the future can boost the productivity efficiency of your remote team to a whole new level. But, is it going to be tomatoes or the trees? Whether this works or that is a matter of trial and error. You might fail and need to start all over again.
Those who never try lose by default.
Aneesha is a Content Contributor at Think Remote, a remote media portal that brings you news, tips, and stories from the remote work world. Her love affair with writing began when she was only ten years old. As she grew up, filling the pages of her diary with poetry transformed into writing real-life stories, experiences, and informative articles for national and international publications. With more than a decade-long experience in content marketing and business development, her love for all things "communication" is seen in everything she does.
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