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About Everything Wiki » Productivity » How to increase productivity using the flowtime technique

How to increase productivity using the flowtime technique

25 Jan 2024, 00:01, parser
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How flowtime and Pomodoro techniques are related

Flowtime is in many ways a direct "heir" to the famous "tomato" 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, Zoey Reed‑Bivens, noticed that such work periods often knocked her down, reduced productivity and distracted her from business. Then she decided to create her own system that would take the best from Pomodoro, but would not abruptly interrupt the workflow.

At the same time, several key points coincide between the two techniques:

  • Time tracking. Flowtime follows the same philosophy as Pomodoro, but offers a more flexible system that can be customized.
  • Abandoning multitasking. Both approaches imply that it is better to spend energy on one task at a time, instead of being dispersed into several cases.
  • Regular breaks. Only, unlike Pomodoro, flowtime does not involve a fixed rest time. You can take a break at any time you want.

How to use the flowtime technique

1. Prepare a schedule

It will help you keep track of your daily tasks. You can keep notes on your phone or in a notebook. The main thing is that there should be several main points in the schedule:

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

This template will allow you to find a comfortable pace. Once everything is ready, proceed to the next steps and do not forget to fill out the schedule as you work.

2. Select a task

It should be clear. For example, do not set yourself the goal of "painting all the walls in the house", but replace it with "painting one wall in the living room". When performing a complex task, it is difficult to keep your attention and keep working for a long time. It is better to break the work into small but feasible realistic steps.

3. Get started

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

4. Take breaks

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

You will most likely notice that the longest period of non-stop operation possible is about 90 minutes. Researchers call For Real Productivity, Less is Truly More / Harvard Business Review this is an "ultradian rhythm" — every hour and a half we naturally switch between work and rest. That is why breaks are necessary. The main thing is to take them when they are really needed.

5. Keep a schedule

Don't forget to record your breaks there. Take as much rest as you need, but don't get too carried away, otherwise productivity will decrease significantly.

Take the Pomodoro technique as a basis and adjust it to suit yourself. In the "tomato" 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. Do not forget to set a timer to record the start and end times of breaks.

At the end of the week, compare your schedule for all the days that have passed. You will surely notice certain patterns in your work. For example, you work the longest before lunch or are more often distracted an hour before the end of the working day. This information will allow you to plan your work correctly for the next seven days. For example, you can do the most difficult tasks during the period of maximum productivity, and the small ones — at times when you are especially absent-minded.

6. Fix distractions

Even the most persistent and productive people are periodically distracted to scroll through the feed on Instagram* or watch videos of cats on YouTube. Sometimes work is interrupted by new things — an urgent phone conversation, an unexpected letter, a sudden call on Zoom. When this happens, put it on your schedule. Try to spend the minimum amount of time on such things so as not to distract attention.

7. Repeat from the beginning

To successfully apply the flowtime technique, you need to repeat all the steps described until the task 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 all the cases took.

The main thing is to keep track of time regularly and fill out a 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 work style.


Facebook Instagramming is prohibited in the territory of the Russian Federation.*The 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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