Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Amazon Echo For the Pomodoro Technique

This morning while working out my schedule, I thought that I would have to pull out all the stops on my productivity tricks so that I could stay on task.

Enter the Pomodoro Technique. The technique has been a great boost to staying focused in the past. There is something about working against the clock that keeps your priorities straight.

The Pomodoro Technique, if you've never heard of it, has you set a timer for 25 minutes. You ignore everything except your work during those 25 minutes.

Once the alarm sounds, you take a short 5 minute break. No cheating on this one. If you work through your break, you'll burn yourself out and then not complete the next 25 minute stretch.

You repeat the cycle 4 times and then take a longer break of 20 to 30 minutes.

The Pomodoro Technique is a named after a kitchen timer that looks like a tomato. In reality, you can use any timer, so long as it's not complicated to set up. Which brings me to the Amazon Echo.

If you are not familiar with the Amazon Echo, it is a handy voice activated device that functions muck like Siri on iOS, Google Now on Android, or Cortana for Windows Phone. It is a voice activated virtual assistant. In fact, you could very well use any of those to use the Pomodoro Technique too.

What sets the Echo apart, however, is that you do not need your computer or phone. It is a standalone device that is always listening for your commands. You just say, "Alexa, set timer for 25 minutes." That's it. "She" will sound an alarm when the 25 minutes are up.

I have found that using my phone to use the voice assistant is cumbersome. I have a passcode to protect my privacy, which also hinders quick reminders. Often, by the time I finish logging into my device, I forgot what I wanted to remember. I don't use Evernote for that reason too. Of course, the Echo is also capable of keeping your To Do list and shopping list. However, today we are focusing on the easy to use timer feature.

I am not suggesting that yo go out and buy an Echo solely for the timer feature. This is just an idea on how to use your Echo if you have one. Or, perhaps, if you have use for the Echo's other features, then the Echo with the Pomodoro Technique would be a great bonus.

Disclosure: The picture and link to the Echo page on Amazon are affiliate links.

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