If you, or your team, are into productivity, you might have used the Pomodoro Technique. You split your work into 25 minute chunks – ‘Pomodoros’ – and each of those chunks are separated by 5 minute breaks. Those 5 minutes are short enough to refresh you, without interrupting the flow of what you’ve been doing in the previous half-hour.
I’m not a Pomodoro expert. Can it be applied to a longer timescale, like the working year? I often feel that short breaks, like a long weekend, have a disproportionately beneficial effect on my productivity. I always return, full of ideas, either on behalf of my clients or for my own business.
Why short feels so substantial.
- If it’s short, I’ll want to make the most of it – in this case, a last-minute EasyJet-enabled trip to Venice.
- If it’s short, I let myself switch off. Properly. I disconnect myself from all my electronic lifelines: Samsung Galaxy, iPod, Kindle and laptop. No temptation to play hooky from a holiday by breaking into the virtual backdoor of my office. On longer trips, I usually tussle with myself at the beginning, wondering if I should sneak back to check my voice or email.
Steps 1 and 2 help me to enjoy the moment, as does this:
If your mind is easily distracted by your dogmatic diary and its plans for your future, a new backdrop helps you to stay in the present. My daughter and I pored over these masks for at least 15 minutes, examining every bead and stitch.
It reminded me how being in the here and now clears your head and recharges your batteries. If you’d like to know more about how taking notice helps your wellbeing and productivity, visit the 6 Ways to Wellbeing website and my article about it.
Then there is the change of pace that comes when your diary no longer dictates that you have to get from A to B in the next 35 minutes. A bit of water helps too, whether it’s a river, the sea or a canal:
I’ve also realised that if I opt for a short, Pomodoro-type break, re-entry into work is easier. If I take a fortnight off, I always need a week to get my grumpy brain back into gear. But with a couple of relaxing days under my belt, I feel refreshed and ready to return to the fray.
It’s a Pomodoro on a grand scale. 72 hours are long enough to clear my mind and short enough to avoid severe holiday withdrawal symptoms.
The short and the long of it.
If you are taking a break, big or small, make sure it’s a clean break. No skulking back to your emails or messages. You and your business deserve a holiday – and your long-term productivity will get a boost.
That means, lots of new ideas for website content, including blogs and news items over the coming weeks. Not bad if you’ve only been away for 72 hours.
Photo credit: My daughter took the photos.