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Wyoming Business Tips for Aug. 16-22

August 7, 2015

A weekly look at Wyoming business questions from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (WSBDC), part of WyomingEntrepreneur.Biz, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.

By Lisa daCosta, WSBDC business adviser

“I am so stressed out trying to bring everything together for my startup company. I cannot afford help in the business, but what can I do to work more effectively or cut my stress?” Fran, Wilson

For an entrepreneur trying to be “all things” for his or her startup, managing the tasks list and getting all the elements of the business lined up for the grand opening or launch can be daunting.

Financing the business on a shoestring budget means an owner cannot afford help in the early stages of a startup. How can an owner/manager do it all and not get burned out before it all comes together? Many founders are confronted with too many items on their “to do” lists and may push to multi-task to get it all done. Newer research now indicates that multi-tasking reduces productivity, rather than enhancing it.

Researchers at Stanford University found that people who were covering several streams of electronic information could not pay attention, could not recall information or switch from one job to another as those who completed one task at a time. A University of London study showed that multi-taskers experienced a decline in their IQ scores.

So, what is an effective alternative to multi-tasking? One time management technique developed in the late 1980s is the Pomodoro Technique, named for the tomato-shaped kitchen timer that creator Francesco Cirillo used to test the methodology.

The technique advocates prioritizing the task list and then committing 25 focused minutes on each task, followed by short three- to five-minute breaks. After completing four Pomodoros, a break of 15-20 minutes is recommended. So, does it work?

If a task can be completed in 25 minutes, or work on a task for 25 minutes puts a meaningful dent toward completion of that project, then Pomodoro may be an effective way to improve productivity and get more of the “to do” list finished.

There are many free Pomodoro timer apps on the Web, and the creator’s book is available for a free download. To learn more about the technique, visit

A blog version of this article and an opportunity to post comments are available at

The WSBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Wyoming Business Council and the University of Wyoming. To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, email, or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY, 82071-3922.

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