Do you feel like you’re constantly spinning your wheels and not getting much done? Are you always thinking about what you’re going to have for lunch? Well, a time management strategy called the Pomodoro Technique may be something you should try out. I personally use this technique to get more done in less time.
The Pomodoro Technique was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s. With the use of a timer, you’re breaking your work down in 25 minute intervals. After each interval, you’ll take a short break. The interval is known as a pomodoro which means ‘tomato’ in Italian. What does a tomato have to do with all of this?! Cirillo used a tomato-shaped timer when managing his time.
This isn’t anything revolutionary. It doesn’t require a complicated system. It just works (for me anyways). I’ve been using this system for a couple years now and the benefits have been nothing short of amazing.
6 Steps of the Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique consists of six principles:
- Choose a task that needs to get done
Pick one task at hand. If you are working on a large project, I suggest you break it down into something you can get done today. Or, you may want to pick something that you’ve been putting off. This will be a good used case study that the Pomodoro Technique does work.
- Set the pomodoro for 25 minutes
You can use a kitchen timer or app. I use a free Iphone app called Focus Keeper.
- Work on the task until the pomodoro is completed
The key here is to condition yourself to block out these 25 minutes for the task you choose. Don’t let outside distractions steal your time. You’ll have another set of pomodoros to resolve them.
- Note that you’ve accomplished a pomodoro
Add a checkmark on paper each time you complete a pomodoro. I typically set how many pomodoros I want to accomplish in a day then draw circles next to it. After each completed pomodoro, I color in the circle. This creates a sense of accomplishment.
- Take a short break
Treat yourself to a break after you complete each pomodoro. I understand urgent things pop up but use this break for something non-work related like stretching, walking, dancing or grabbing a cup of coffee.
- After every four pomodoros take a longer break (20-30 minutes)
After four pomodoros, you’ll brain will welcome a reset. A 20 minute break won’t kill your productivity but it’s enough time to get sufficient rest before you hit your next set of pomodoros.
Why Does the Pomodoro Technique work?
It creates a sense of urgency when you compartmentalize your work into tight stretches of time rather than dragging the work day out like most do.
Let’s face it, we live in a connected and very distracted world. Every second there is a possible distraction pulling you away from what needs to get done. The Pomodoro Technique works because it drowns out those distractions in manageable bite sized chunks of time.
The Pomodoro Technique forces you to start. Isn’t that the toughest part of getting anything accomplished most times? This is especially true if you don’t have a hard deadline or you work for yourself.
Lastly, you are forced to take breaks. This is super important for people that work in front of a computer all day. It’s healthy to give your eyes and body a break from sitting and staring at a computer.
Benefits of the Pomodoro Technique
Twenty five minutes of focused attention, ten times per day can yield amazing results over the course of a day, week and year.
The benefits that I’ve personally experienced include;
- Increased productivity
- Strengthened focus and attention
- Improved quality of work/life
- Less anxiety about things I need to get done
- More personal time
- More energy at the end of the work day
- Less time on (personal) social media and other non-productive sites
- Feeling of accomplishment
You end up working smarter, not necessarily harder.
Do you use the Pomodoro Technique? I’d love to hear your thoughts!