The Pomodoro Technique
If you have a hectic work life and struggle to focus and manage distractions – The Pomodoro Technique, created by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980’s, maybe a time management philosophy that will work for you. The Pomodoro Technique can help you achieve more by focussing on each task in short ‘hyper-focused’ bursts followed by frequent breaks to recharge your batteries.
How Does The Pomodoro Technique Work?
The fundamentals of The Pomodoro Technique are simple but effective.
1. Choose a task you’d like to get done
The first step is to select a task that you need to get done (perhaps something you have been putting off and is now urgent) and deserves your full, undivided attention.
2. Set a timer for 25 minutes
When you are ready to start the task, set a timer for 25 minutes and then commit to spending 25 undivided minutes where you only focus on this task. These short timed sessions are known as ‘Pomodoros’. Use any timer you have available or perhaps download one of the many apps available (search for Pomodoro timer).
3. Work on your task until your timer rings
Completely immerse yourself in the task for the next 25 minutes. Turn off your phone and email. If someone tries to interrupt you, explain you will come back to them shortly. If you find your mind keeps wandering, and you are interrupting yourself thinking about other things you need to do -simply write them down to review later.
4. When timer rings take a break
Make a note of where you are with the task and take a step away from your desk for five minutes. Do something relaxing – make a coffee, go for a quick walk, speak to a colleague, etc. It doesn’t really matter what you do during these 5 minutes as long as you clear your mind of the task.
5. Take a longer break after four timed sessions
Once you’ve completed four 25 minute sessions, take a longer 20-30 minute break. Again, get some air, a drink or some food and make sure you clear your mind. If you are working on a particularly complex task or if you are feeling tired, you may need to take longer breaks more frequently.
How Can it Help You?
By taking regular breaks, you will keep your mind focused. According to the official Pomodoro website (https://cirillocompany.de/pages/pomodoro-technique¹), the system is easy to use, and you will see results very quickly:
‘You will probably begin to notice a difference in your work or study process
within a day or two. True mastery of the technique takes from
seven to twenty days of constant use.’
Using the Pomodoro Technique can help you complete projects faster by forcing you to focus and adhere to strict timing. Also, watching the timer wind down can encourage you to complete your current task more quickly. Spreading a task over two or three timed sessions can keep you from getting frustrated or bored with the task. The timing of your activities makes you more accountable for your tasks and minimises the time you spend procrastinating.
One of the best things about the Pomodoro Technique is that it’s free and therefore worth a try. We all have timers available on our PC’s, smart devices or via apps – so you don’t have to spend money on the ‘tomato-shaped’ timers sold on the official Pomodoro Technique website. So even if you try it and it doesn’t work for you, you haven’t lost anything.
The process won’t work for everyone and isn’t suitable for some roles, but if you are looking for a systematic way to tackle your daily ‘to-do’ list, the Pomodoro Technique may fit your needs.
¹Official website: https://francescocirillocompany.de/pages/pomodoro-technique