So many new features, we had to add a New Features feature…

Ever since we finished our massive rewrite and overhaul of our back-end we have been producing new features at a steady pace, as you may have noticed from the frequency of these blog posts. To make it easier for folks to keep up with the flood of improvements, we have added a “What’s New in Kerika” feature:

When there are new features in Kerika that were released since you last logged in, a small “What’s New in Kerika” badge will appear on the top of the app:

Clicking on this will show you a list of what’s new that you will find useful.  Here’s an example:

On the mobile app the alert is a little different, because of the smaller layout: a small orange dot appears on your profile picture; click on that and you get the profile menu which now contains a What’s New in Kerika option:

What Got Done and What’s Due: By Quarter

The What Got Done View, that’s accessible from your Dashboard, now has a new feature: it can show you everything that got done by calendar quarter:

This can be accessed from the Settings dialog from this View: just click on the gear icon at the top right corner of the app.

This feature is also available for the What’s Due View: now you can see how your long-term deliverables stack up over the next four quarters.

This By Quarter View should help folks that need to report to their bosses what the team is getting done, on a quarterly basis.

Another way to stay on top of what’s happening

When you are working on several boards, we want to make sure you don’t miss any updates that might be happening elsewhere in Kerika.

There’s a new feature that helps with that: if you have open boards (or templates) with unread updates, the drop-down on the “board switcher” appears in orange:

When you click on the OPEN BOARDS button, Kerika will show you all your open boards, with the updated ones highlighted in orange:

This should help you stay on top of what’s happening across your entire Kerika world: you don’t need to switch to different boards just to see if there’s anything new.

We made it even easier to see what’s changed inside a Task

When working on our Task Boards, users will now find it even easier than before to see exactly what changed inside a task (card): new attachments, for example, are flagged like this:

And that’s true for new chat:

And for checklist items:

We know Kerika is used for some really large projects with thousands of cards, so we are always looking to see how we can make it super easy for distributed and global teams to keep up with what their colleagues are doing.

 

Mastering Time Management: A Deep Dive into the Pomodoro Technique

 

Time Management Hack: Unlocking the Potential of Pomodoro Technique

Discover how the Pomodoro Technique enhances focus and efficiency while harnessing productivity principles.

Image from ChrisBailey.com  

Introduction

Effective time management has become a coveted skill in this fast-paced generation. One technique that has gained popularity for its simplicity and efficiency is the Pomodoro Technique. Developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s, this method has proven to be a game-changer for individuals striving to enhance productivity.

In this article, we will explore the ins and outs of the Pomodoro Technique. We will also dig deep to understand how it works and discuss practical tips for mastering this time management approach.

Understanding the Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique refers to breaking down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes, separated by short breaks. Each interval is referred to as a “Pomodoro,” named after the Italian word for tomato. This term stems from Cirillo’s initial use of a tomato-shaped kitchen timer during university studies.

The rationale behind Cirillo’s Pomodoro Technique is rooted in the idea that structured work intervals and regular breaks optimize productivity. By dividing tasks into focused 25-minute Pomodoros, individuals harness the Zeigarnik Effect, which enhances task retention and motivation. Moreover, this technique prevents burnout, prioritizes tasks, and cultivates improved time management skills.

The Pomodoro Process

1. Choose a Task

Start by selecting a task you want to work on. It could be a project, a report required for your elective in human services major, or any work requiring focused attention.

Carefully choosing your task is necessary as it sets the tone for your entire Pomodoro session. Prioritizing tasks based on importance and urgency can help you make the most of each Pomodoro, ensuring you tackle critical work first and gradually work through your to-do list.

2. Set the Timer

Set a timer for 25 minutes—the standard duration for one Pomodoro. During this time, you commit to working on the chosen task without distractions.

Setting a timer creates a sense of urgency and provides a tangible boundary for your work session. Knowing you have a defined end time can boost your focus and motivation as you strive to accomplish as much as possible within Pomodoro’s limits.

3. Work Intensely

Get into your work with complete focus and commitment. Resist the urge to check your phone, emails, or other distractions.

The Pomodoro Technique banks on your undivided attention during this phase. To maximize this intense work period, consider eliminating distractions by silencing notifications and creating a dedicated workspace. The goal is to make these 25 minutes highly productive by giving your task your full-undivided focus.

4. Take a Short Break

Once the timer rings, take a short break, typically 5 minutes. Use this time to stretch, grab a snack, or take a quick walk.

These activities help refresh your mind and prepare you for the next Pomodoro. Short breaks are essential for preventing mental fatigue and maintaining energy levels throughout the day. They provide a moment of relaxation and recovery, allowing you to return to your work with renewed vigor and clarity.

5. Repeat

After completing four Pomodoros, take a longer break, around 15-30 minutes. This break allows for rejuvenation and reflection before diving into the next set of Pomodoros.

By cyclically completing work intervals and short breaks, followed by a more extended break, you create a rhythm that optimizes your workflow. This rhythm aligns with your natural energy cycles, allowing you to tackle tasks efficiently while preventing burnout.

Image from Breeze

Why Does It Work?

The Pomodoro Technique leverages several psychological principles to enhance productivity.

1. Time Blocking

By breaking the day into focused intervals, this technique encourages time blocking. It aids in concentrating on specific tasks without the overwhelming feeling of an entire day’s workload.

Such an approach promotes a sense of clarity and purpose, allowing for a deeper focus on each task without the distraction of looming, unmanageable workloads. As a result, the technique provides a practical framework for prioritization and task management.

2. Parkinson’s Law

If you’re pursuing an educational psychology degree, you might already be familiar with Parkinson’s Law, which states that work expands to fill the time available for completion. Yet, as the deadline looms, we tend to procrastinate.

According to experts, one of the reasons why we procrastinate is failing to manage negative moods about a particular task. When something feels overwhelming or triggers anxiety, you might keep putting it off. Thankfully, the Pomodoro Technique brilliantly exploits the aforementioned psychological principle.

As a countermeasure, the technique allows you to set specific time limits for tasks, which creates a built-in sense of urgency within the defined time frame. Hence, individuals are less likely to procrastinate or get caught up in unproductive activities. The imposed time constraint compels them to focus on the task, promoting efficiency and preventing unnecessary work sprawl.

3. Fostering Flow

The short, focused intervals help individuals enter a state of flow—deep concentration and optimal performance. Such is essential for tackling complex tasks efficiently. As a result, it promotes a sense of accomplishment and progress after each Pomodoro, reinforcing motivation and the desire to maintain this productive state.

Tips for Mastering the Pomodoro Technique

1. Customize Pomodoro Duration

While the traditional Pomodoro duration is 25 minutes, everyone’s optimal work period may differ. Experiment with different time intervals to find what suits you best. Some might thrive with shorter sprints, while others need more extended periods.

2. Eliminate Distractions

The success of the Pomodoro Technique hinges on a distraction-free environment. Turn off notifications, silence your phone, and inform colleagues about your focused work periods. This enhances concentration and allows you to make the most out of each Pomodoro.

3. Prioritize Tasks

Before starting your Pomodoro, prioritize your tasks. Focus on high-priority and challenging tasks during your peak energy periods. This ensures that your most critical work receives your undivided attention.

4. Adapt to Your Natural Rhythms

Everyone has natural energy peaks and slumps throughout the day. Schedule your Pomodoros during your high-energy periods. This aligns with your body’s natural rhythm, boosting productivity.

5. Track and Analyze

Keep a Pomodoro log to track your work and breaks. Tracking tasks and subtasks helps analyze your productivity patterns and provides a sense of accomplishment as you witness the completion of multiple Pomodoros.

Image from actiTIME

Overcoming Challenges

While the Pomodoro Technique is powerful, it’s not immune to challenges. Proactively addressing these challenges can significantly enhance its effectiveness.

1. Interruptions

Unexpected interruptions can derail a Pomodoro. If you face frequent interruptions, consider communicating your focused work periods to colleagues or use visual cues like a “Do Not Disturb” sign.

2. Task Size

Breaking down larger tasks into smaller, more manageable components is crucial. This prevents Pomodoros from becoming overwhelming and helps maintain a sense of accomplishment.

3. Restlessness

If you find yourself getting restless during a Pomodoro, it might indicate that the chosen duration is too long. Experiment with shorter intervals until you find the sweet spot that engages you. Restlessness can be a sign of diminishing focus, and it’s essential to recognize when your attention wanes.

Additionally, consider incorporating brief stretching exercises or quick mental breaks during Pomodoros to combat restlessness while maintaining productivity. These strategies can help you balance sustained concentration and physical comfort, ensuring your Pomodoro sessions remain effective.

Conclusion

Mastering time management is a skill that can set you apart. With its simplicity and flexibility, the Pomodoro Technique offers a structured approach to managing your time effectively. By understanding the underlying principles and tailoring the technique to suit your needs, you can harness its power to boost productivity and achieve your goals. When you embrace the Pomodoro Technique, your focused and timed intervals will transform your work habits and elevate your overall efficiency.

This was a guest post from Finances Online

A new Undo feature for Task Boards

We have added a new Undo feature that you can use to correct any mistaken drag-and-drop actions, or mistaken Move to Trash and Move to Done actions.

When you have moved a card, an Undo button will appear on the top-right of the app (along with a new Zoom button):

Undo works just like you would expect it to.  The Undo button shows for 2 minutes after a task (card) has been moved. (Keeping it there longer would actually be confusing for users who might not remember what exactly will be undone if they click on it.)

A new Zoom feature for Task Boards

Along with the new Undo feature we have added a Zoom button that appears on the top-right of the app, on laptops, desktops and tablets:

When zoomed out, the board shows all tasks (cards) as a single line, and this is handy if you are dealing with a large board. Here’s what a zoomed-out view looks like:

This feature has existed for a while in our mobile apps; now you can use it on your desktop as well.

We have also improved this feature on mobile to make it possible for you to add new tasks while you are zoomed-out.

Top Free Project Management Tools: Kerika ranks #1

SystemTek just published an article on the top free project management tools, and we are pleased to note that Kerika ranks #1 on the list, ahead of Trello, Asana, Clickup and Todoist.

The article notes that Kerika comes with:

Read the whole article.

Ultimate Guide to Lesson Planning: Tips and Strategies for Teachers

Mirror Review features Kerika in an article on lesson planning! From the article:

Choosing the right lesson planner is important as it directly impacts your ability to organize teaching materials efficiently and save time in the long run. Kanban tools have gained popularity among teachers due to their visual and flexible nature. There are many tools available in the market like Clickup and Trello. But if you’re looking for a cost-effective tool that caters specifically to educators, Kerika is the standout choice.

Read the entire article.