Being able to manage time is essential to having a work-life balance. But statistics show that 82% of people don’t have a formal time management system. This is quite alarming considering the number of tasks we have to complete in a day.
With just 24 hours in a day, whether we do these things and how well we do them depends on our ability to manage time. This desire to properly handle time has spawned numerous productivity practices, from time blocking to time boxing and even the Eisenhower Matrix.
One practice that has gradually grown in recent years is the Flowtime Technique, and Akiflow is an excellent platform for using this time management system. This article looks at the Flowtime Technique in-depth—pointing out its advantages and disadvantages.
Rise of the Flowtime Technique: the Pomodoro Technique
To understand the Flowtime Technique and how it works, we need to go back to one of the most popular time management practices—the Pomodoro Technique.
Named after the tomato-shaped timer that Francesco Cirillo used to track his progress, the Pomodoro Technique is a time management system that lets you batch your tasks in 25-minute intervals with breaks in between.
Here’s how it works:
- First, identify a task that you want to work on.
- Next, set your timer to 25 minutes and get to work.
- After the timer goes off, take a five-minute break.
- Repeat this four times before taking a more extended break, usually between 15 and 30 minutes.
The Pomodoro Technique is perfect for individuals who have to meet regular tasks. Its biggest proponents include writers, developers, and designers. However, if you work in a space with other people or work from home, you may get interrupted while the Pomodoro is counting.
If this happens, inform whoever interrupted you that you are working and will get back to them. Of course, if it’s an urgent situation, you can make an exception.
So, what is the Flowtime Technique?
The Flowtime Technique is credited to Zoe Read-Bivens and is a variation of the Pomodoro Technique. However, rather than working or studying in 25-minute blocks, you keep at a task until you’re done or tired. To explain how the Flowtime Technique works, we’ll use the example of a web designer who has to create a website for a client.
Using the Pomodoro Technique, our designer will work in 25-minute blocks with a five-minute break. With the Flowtime Technique, our designer simply sets a timer when they start working and only turns it off when they get tired or bored. Although this looks similar to the Pomodoro Technique, the significant difference is that you take breaks when you need to.
The Flowtime Study Technique was adopted because using the Pomodoro Technique is not always ideal when doing creative or problem-solving tasks. For example, you may get into a state of flow just before the 25-minute mark is up but have to get out as soon as your timer goes off. This could affect your ability to concentrate.
Advantages of Flowtime
We’re sure you know there are no perfect systems, and with productivity systems often needing a personal touch, there are no ideal productivity systems either. This section highlights some of the advantages and disadvantages of the Flowtime Studying Technique.
Helps with tracking time spent on tasks
The purpose of practicing various productivity techniques is to improve our processes. This often means planning how we work or study, and what better way to do this than being able to track how long a task takes to get done.
Considering the Flowtime Technique works by allowing you to track the time spent on a task at once instead of several time slots, it is easier to estimate how long an activity takes. Knowing how long a job/study takes will help you schedule your time correctly. This is perfect if you’re a freelancer who gets paid based on how much time you put into a job.
As a freelancer, Akiflow can help you track all of your tasks in one place so you can get more work done.
It allows you to stay focused longer
The hardest part of any task is getting started, but as soon as you start. Using the Pomodoro Technique, the timer could go off just when you’re getting into the work. Even if you decide not to take a break, that distraction is often hard to get over.
Our brains get easily distracted, and research shows that it takes more than 20 minutes to regain focus after a distraction. Therefore, keeping distractions far away is crucial, and the Flowtime Study Technique is the perfect tool to help.
It helps you plan better
As we pointed out earlier, the Flowtime Technique helps track how long a task takes to be completed. But that’s not all it does. It also allows you to identify the factors that distract you, making it possible to eliminate them. Read-Bivens advises that users identify and write down distractions they encounter while using the Flowtime Technique.
Discover the best times to work
We all have different times at which we are most productive. This is in the morning for some people, while others are most productive at night.
Regardless of where you fall under, the Flowtime Technique helps you to identify the periods when you are most productive. If you work from more than one location, it is also an opportunity to learn which places are most suitable for work.
Flexibility to take breaks
Using the Pomodoro Technique requires one to take breaks at specific intervals. However, it does not consider personal working habits. But with the Flowtime Technique, you only take breaks when you need to instead of when a timer signifies.
It is personalized
Although productivity systems are designed to get the best out of a person’s work life, it is crucial to note that few people work in similar ways. The 25-minute blocks suggested by the Pomodoro Technique might be too short for some and too long for others.
However, with the Flowtime Technique, you work at your own pace. This means that the time spent on similar tasks may differ on certain days. Akiflow integrates tools that make tracking daily activities easier.
Disadvantages of the Flowtime Technique
The following are disadvantages of the Flowtime Technique:
It is not ideal for erratic work or studying schedules
The Flowtime Studying Technique works best if you can work or study for a significant period without interruption. Naturally, this means that you may struggle with sticking to this technique in jobs where you can be interrupted. On the other hand, students and freelancers may find it ideal.
Planning might be harder
Since you must stick to one task until you are done, you must plan your work. This starts with knowing which jobs are top priority and arranging them in that order.
Difficulty getting the right time blocks
If you use the Flowtime Technique, you may soon find it difficult to get the accurate time block for specific tasks. This is because even identical assignments may require different processes, affecting the time spent on them. However, you can use an estimate to understand how long you spend on specific tasks.
How to make the most of the Flowtime Technique
Having explained the Flowtime Technique and its peculiarities, let us explore how to make the most of it.
You can only get the best out of the Flowtime Technique if you are not distracted while working or studying. Therefore, ensure you remove everything that distracts you before starting. This includes turning off notifications on your cell phone, keeping a piece of paper for noting down distractions, and informing your co-workers that you will prefer not to be disturbed.
Stick to one task
Don’t multitask. Instead, take note of all your tasks beforehand and decide which one is most urgent, then stay on it until you complete it.
Track the time spent on each task
Earlier, we pointed out that one of the benefits of the Flowtime Technique is being able to track how long you spend on tasks. If you decide to use it, get a time tracking app like Akiflow to note how long it takes to complete a task.
With Akiflow, you can also capture meetings, ideas, content from emails and Slack conversations, and turn them into tasks.
Take breaks when you need to
The Pomodoro Technique provides regular breaks, while the Flowtime Technique requires you to pick interludes yourself. Depending on how you work, you may be tempted to continue until you’re done with the task but ensure you take regular breaks. This could be when you feel tired, when you’re finding it difficult to concentrate, or when you’ve run out of ideas.
Get into the Flow
It is easy to get carried away when searching for the right productivity system. However, it is essential that you do not forget the most crucial component of any technique you choose: you.
Pick the one that works well for you. Just like Read-Bivens was able to modify the Pomodoro Technique to something that worked for her, you too can do the same.
Finally, regardless of which productivity system you choose, you’ll need a tool to manage your work, and this is where Akiflow comes in. By using our app, you can manage all your tasks and commitments in one place. Sign up today to get started.