Opt for ‘Flowtime’ as a Adaptable Substitute for the Pomodoro Technique

Engage in focused work for an extended period, followed by a deserving break.

While the Pomodoro Technique shines as a productivity method with its core idea of working intensively for 25 minutes and then taking a brief break, it may not be the ideal fit for everyone. Like any methodology, it can be customized to suit individual needs. If the standard 25-minute work sessions and five-minute cooldowns aren’t optimal for you, consider exploring the adaptable Flowtime technique.

What is the flowtime technique?

The Flowtime technique is a variation of the Pomodoro Technique, sharing its fundamental principles of alternating work and break periods. However, the distinction lies in the flexibility it offers, allowing you to determine the duration of both your work and leisure intervals. Sometimes referred to as “flowmodoro,” this approach is designed to keep you immersed in a task, enticing you into a state of deep work by using the prospect of a break to maintain momentum.

The crucial aspect is the uninterrupted focus during your working period. Similar to the Pomodoro Technique, Flowtime encourages concentrated attention on a single task throughout the designated work time, discouraging distractions such as checking your phone or email intermittently. The primary difference lies in the autonomy it provides, allowing you to set your own work duration, as opposed to adhering to the fixed “25 on, five off” framework.

How to set up your personal flowtime

The drawback of choosing Flowtime over Pomodoro is the same as its advantage: you have the autonomy to determine your work duration. Unlike the straightforward structure of the Pomodoro Technique, establishing your personalized Flowtime method requires a bit more effort. It’s recommended to dedicate about a week to figuring it out before fully implementing it.

During this initial setup phase, follow these steps:

  1. Track the commencement of your focused work on a specific task with minimal distractions. Utilize time-tracking software or, in this case, a spreadsheet for a more comprehensive approach.
  2. Document the instances when you start feeling restless, distracted, or disinterested. This signals the need for a break.
  3. Record when you sense the energy to resume the task.
  4. Repeat this cycle until the task is completed.

In your spreadsheet, allocate a separate sheet for each task on your agenda. Label the columns based on your preference, including elements like date, start and break times, and the ultimate conclusion time. With continued use, the spreadsheet will provide insights into your typical work duration threshold before needing a break and the ideal duration of breaks to ensure you feel sufficiently reenergized.

Once you’ve identified your own work capabilities and preferences, put them into practice. For example, if you find that you can concentrate on cleaning tasks for 15 minutes, set your timer for that duration each time you clean, followed by a break of your preferred length—be it five or 10 minutes. Commit to returning to the task after your break.

If you wish to challenge yourself to extend work sessions gradually, you can do so, but it’s entirely optional. If your current method is effective for you, that’s great. However, if you aspire to enhance your ability to focus for longer durations, consider adding one minute to your work sessions each time you perform a task, gradually progressing from, for instance, 15 to 16 to 17 minutes. Utilizing the spreadsheet can be beneficial in tracking your progress and making adjustments to your Flowtime if needed.

Flowtime isn’t an effortless alternative if the Pomodoro Technique doesn’t resonate with you; instead, it’s a quest to discover a time combination that suits your preferences. Remember, any amount of focused work is more beneficial than none, so find the Flowtime that aligns with your needs and harness the advantages of uninterrupted work interspersed with breaks, even if it deviates from the conventional norm.