The Secret to Being Crazy Productive

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Abbey Ashley

Do you need to learn how to increase productivity?

If you are anything like me, you start out your work day pretty focused.

Then you check Facebook.

Then your coffee gets cold.

Then you start making your grocery list.

Then you reheat your coffee for the third time.

Then you have gotten yourself so distracted that you give up for the day.

Here’s the thing- when you have a big project to complete – it can seem pretty daunting. It seems like, the bigger the task, the easier it is to get distracted. You may start out your day saying to yourself, “I am going to spend ALL day working on ___”. But is this really the most effective method?

Ready to increase productivity? Insert the Pomodoro Technique.

Have you heard about the Pomodoro Technique? No, I don’t mean the “Pompadour Technique” where you poof up your hair. The Pomodoro Technique is a time-saving method that’s designed to help you power through those distractions and stay focused. Through working during short “bursts”, you are able to get work done and also take time for breaks and distractions.

Some background- the Pomodoro Technique was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the early 90’s. Frankie was an author and entrepreneur, who was sick of getting distracted (and he didn’t even have Facebook). He named the system “Pomodoro”, after the tomato-shaped timer he used to keep track of his time spent working on projects.

Here’s the basic theory- When we have a large task to complete, it is best to break it down into short, timed “Pomodoros”. These are short bursts of work, followed by short breaks. You take regular breaks to keep your creativity flowing, and you work in short intervals to keep you motivated.

Here is how it is done:

  • Choose what task you are going to accomplish
  • Set your timer for 25 minutes
  • Work diligently on that task until your timer goes off
  • Take a short break (5 minutes is perfect)
  • Every four “Pomodoros”, take a longer break (15- 20 minutes is ideal)

It’s important to remember that your Pomodoros (the short bursts of work) are distraction free times. This means you will need to close Facebook, close your email, silence your phone (or at least don’t answer it), and stay focused.

The great thing about this method is that all you need is a timer to get started. Of course, there are all sorts of fancy tools to help you with this method as well.

Here are a few of my fav’s:

Marinara Timer is a web app that you keep open in a pinned tab. You are able to select your timer alerts so you know when to take a break. The best part is, you don’t have to install anything! (Also, did you notice the cute name?)

Focus Timer is for iPhone and iPad users and is very customizable. You can use the app to review your work history, customize work and break durations and customize sounds used as reminders and alerts.

A Timer – get your own real-life Pomodoro timer! Set it on your desk next to you and get to work.


Meet Abbey

Abbey Ashley is the Founder of The Virtual Savvy. She helps aspiring virtual assistants launch and grow their own at-home business from scratch. She's since gone on to grow a multi-six figure business and retire her husband ALL from her at-home business. It's now her passion to help others start their own VA business so they can taste the freedom and flexibility of entrepreneurship as well.


This free one-hour training combines thousands of hours of research, years of experience in growing a virtual assistant business!

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  1. Nina Froriep on January 7, 2016 at 2:45 pm

    Thanks, Ashley – great reminder of a simple and very effective technique – will use it as soon as I’ve written this answer! Looking forward to the next tip!

  2. Vicky on November 11, 2018 at 8:44 am

    The Pomodoro technique is nice, I use it from time to time. Another technique I use is the Kanban method. It’s simple yet effective. All you need is a board divided into 3 categories (to do, in progress, done), then you put all your activities into one of the categories. It’s a good way to manage tasks and projects. If you want to read more about it. check here:

    • Abbey Ashley on December 11, 2018 at 2:05 pm

      This is great, Vicky! Thank you for sharing!

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