Our days are filled with interruptions. Whether it’s someone dropping by your office, a recent social media craze, or the squeaky toy the cat found under the couch (or is that just my office?), there is always things trying to pull our focus away from what we are trying to accomplish.
What needs to be done can often be divided into two categories: the things you have to get done and things you should do. Often, it is hard to get to the shoulds. Maybe, setting up an hour-long training session with your system provider is a challenge with your day-to-day schedule. Or, maybe you have trouble concentrating on anything for an entire hour. But what could you accomplish in 20 minutes?
Twenty minutes isn’t a lot of time, but you might be surprised what you could check off your to-do list. This is where the Pomodoro Technique can help you. The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method developed by Francisco Cirillo in the late 1980s. To put simply, you use a timer to break work into smaller more manageable intervals — typically 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks. Personally, I prefer using a 20-minute timer because 25 minutes is too close to 30 minutes, which feels like a long time.
Try setting a timer for 20 minutes and focus on one specific task. When the timer goes off, stand up. Take a moment to check in on things or just take a moment before you start your next task. If you get interrupted during those 20 minutes, address it then start a new 20-minute timer. If you finish your specific task before the time is up, use that time to start another task or read an industry-related article. The goal is to completely focus for these 20-minute intervals.
This concept is a proven technique to help break down complex tasks, stop avoiding certain items on your to-do list, and combat distractions. It is about consistency and not perfection. This technique can help improve your productivity, while still allowing for short attention spans and encouraging short breaks between tasks.
Here are a few ideas for how to spend 20 minutes:
- Read or come back to an article (or two) from Foreword Online. You might want to read about ways to entice alumni to shop in your college store, look at what MBS’ rental options could bring to your store, or explore how your store can offer students more low-cost course material options.
- Submit your course material list to MBS for a guaranteed buyback quote.
- Peruse another store’s eCommerce site and make notes of what you like, what works well and also what you don’t like. This will help give you ideas how you can redesign your eCommerce site. Also, it doesn’t have to be a college store.
- Email faculty adoption reminders.
- Grab coffee with a member of the faculty, a student worker, or a dean of department you would like to build a stronger professional relationship with.
- Double-check who in your store and on your campus is set to receive emails from your system provider. Make any necessary changes.
- Collect and record the serial numbers & models of all your register hardware.
- Set up a short training session or watch a Tidbit Tuesday recording to refresh your memory on how to do an upcoming seasonal task.
Will you give it a try? The timer starts…now!