If you struggle with time-management, productivity and getting your to-do list under control, there’s one game-changing technique that you need to know about.
Forget complicated daily planners or artsy bullet journal layouts, the Pomodoro Technique is a strategy for managing your time that will help you to power through any distractions that come up. Once you master it and start #crushinggoals, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without it.
The Pomodoro Technique can be applied to just about any task, but it’s especially effective for work and study. It’s simple and powerful and it can be learned in five minutes.
Read on as we learn how to implement this crazy-useful tool into just about any task, and make it a daily habit that helps you get more done.
What is the Pomodoro technique?
The Pomodoro Technique was developed by productivity expert Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. It’s a way of managing your time that involves completing work in 25-minute periods of concentrated effort with no distractions. It’s named after the little tomato-shaped timers that just about everyone has in their kitchen which you can use to time your ‘Pomodoros’.
What can it be used for?
The Pomodoro Technique is most useful for work or study and tasks requiring high concentration, but it can essentially be used for anything you like.
How do you do it?
The idea is that you get everything ready to sit down and work before you start your Pomodoro session. Then, once you’re ready to begin, set your timer for 25 minutes and start working on your task. You concentrate on doing a single task, like writing a report or making chapter notes from a book.
After 25 minutes are up, you take a short break of three-five minutes before you begin again with another Pomodoro. After four Pomodoro sessions, you take a longer break of 15-20 minutes. When you finish each Pomodoro, you put a checkmark on a piece of paper, so you can keep up with how many you’ve completed.
Anything else to know?
If you complete your task before your Pomodoro is finished, then you go back over it until the time is up. This leads to overlearning.
The concept of overlearning is where your best quality work is said to come out. The idea is that once you’ve learned something on a superficial level – say playing a song on the piano for instance – practicing the song even more (overlearning), is where your performance will be able to take on musical flair that makes it come alive, and goes beyond basic correct playing of the notes. Overlearning is why professional athletes train day in, day out, repeating the same activity thousands of times, and the concept is the same for any brain-related tasks.
If something interrupts you during a Pomodoro – like you remember a bill you need to pay – make a note of it on a piece of paper, and carry on with the Pomodoro. If it’s something urgent that requires you to stop immediately, like answering the door, you must end the Pomodoro and begin a new one when you are ready to work again. You can’t come back to a Pomodoro later, or split them into shorter time units.
Why is the Pomodoro Technique so powerful?
The Pomodoro Technique is perfect for anyone who struggles to stay on task, or alternatively, overworks and gets exhausted.
The time period is short enough that it doesn’t feel like you’re committing yourself to a long stretch of time (perfect for procrastinators who tell themselves there are so many other things they need do). Your concentration is less likely to wander or be interrupted as a result of the shorter time period. However, it’s still long enough to make significant progress when you stay focused on a single task. When you get used to working in this way, it’s amazing how much you can get done during just one Pomodoro.
If you overwork, you are also less likely to burn out if you’re taking regular breaks between each Pomodoro. Plus, ticking off each session will give you a sense of accomplishment that keeps your motivation going in the middle of long projects.
Do you need anything special to use the Pomodoro Technique?
The idea behind the Pomodoro Technique is that all you need is a 25-minute timer of any sort. Francesco Cirillo, the inventor of the method, uses the tomato-shaped timers because he believes the ticking sound simulates urgency and so encourages you to work more quickly and efficiently. The buzzer at the end of the session gives closure to the Pomodoro that helps you to switch off and stop.
I also use this timer, but you don’t have to
Kitchen Tomato Timer
With the Pomodoro Technique being so popular however, there are a range of apps and tools that have cropped up to help you with it. There is even a Pomodoro timer from the time tracking app Toggl that’s available as a Chrome browser extension.
Although there have been many imitations and variations on the Pomodoro Technique, nothing has come close to achieving the same following.
If you would like to know more, check out this book
Pomodoro Technique Illustrated- The Easy Way to Do More in Less Time
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Next time you’re struggling to focus when working or studying, try the Pomodoro Technique to see if it works for you. It’s a strategy that’s so simple and easy, and we promise that once you try it, you’ll never go back.