Finishing your work on time is not an easy feat. If you tend to procrastinate, then it just makes things even harder. For the millennial drowning in endless to-do lists and self-help books for time management, the Pomodoro technique is a godsend.
The Pomodoro technique is a time management tool that lets you work in intense bursts of energy throughout the day, while also letting you take ample breaks, so you don’t feel burnt out or overwhelmed.
In this post, we will figure out how you can apply this to your life and work.
What Is The Pomodoro Technique?
The Pomodoro technique was invented in the 1990s. The author Francesco Cirillo named this after the timer which he used to focus on his work. The method itself is super simple and can be easy to follow for anyone.
When you have a lot of work to do, break it down into small sections of work intervals. Keep time for a break in between. This helps your brain keep intense focus during these shorter periods, while also allowing it to be rewarded with breaks.
By taking these breaks, you help your brain increase focus, prevent decision fatigue, restore motivation, and increase creativity. You’re basically granting your brain the opportunity to take a cat nap, and in return, it’ll come back better than ever.
Why Does The Pomodoro Technique Work?
The Pomodoro technique is fantastic, so much that an entrepreneur, writer, and coach, Chris Winfield, published a case study applauding the benefits of this technique that helped him complete 40 hours of work in 16.7 hours. Impressive.
At its core, this time management technique is all about working with the time you have rather than fighting against it. You can decide your work hours, and break them down into a 25-minute chunk, keeping a 5-minute break in between. The small break times are known as Pomodoros. When you have passed 4 Pomodoros, you earn a long break of 15 to 20 minutes.
By using a timer to map out these breaks, you’re able to stay focused on the task at hand. The timer also enforces a sort of faux “urgency” that can help increase output. By giving yourself a set timeframe to complete the task, you’re implementing a sort of willpower that will also help productivity. Additionally, by giving yourself breaks, you reward yourself for cranking out the work and set up the idea that hard work is rewarded with time off, however small.
What Is The Best Way To Use The Pomodoro Technique?
You need an app, or a timer, to make the Pomodoro technique work. You don’t need any special, books, or tools to get this done. You can even simply use the timer on your phone.
For anyone who is starting this technique, follow these steps –
- Decide on the task of the day. You can pick a task that needs to be finished within the day, or a task that you need to make a certain amount of progress on, i.e. 20% completion.
- Set your timer/Pomodoro to 25 minutes.
- Keep working until the Pomodoro alerts you.
- Enjoy your 5-minute break.
- When you pass 4 Pomodoros, take a 15 – 20-minute break.
The purpose of the long break is to make you feel genuinely revitalized. When you are working with concentrated focus for over 2 hours, you need to take a substantial break to disconnect and catch your breath. Have a cup of coffee, grab your favorite book, take a walk, or snack on some food. Do whatever that makes you feel refreshed during this time.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you don’t have to be so rigid with the Pomodoro technique. If you are working in an office setting and a coworker comes up and distracts you with chit chat for 15 minutes, you can simply pause Pomodoro until you can start working again.
However, since we are aiming to be productive, Cirillo himself suggests doing any of the three things when communicating with coworkers below to ensure peak productivity:
- Inform – Inform your colleague or whoever that you are busy right now.
- Negotiate – Inform the distracting party that you will shortly catch up to them when you have some free time.
- Schedule – Decide when you will catch up with them. Do it when it lines up with your break.
We understand that a workplace or even working from home, as we’re doing now, can get complicated. But try to really differentiate between the things that can wait and the things that cannot. Keeping the focus on essential items helps you stay productive and avoid unnecessary interruption during the workday.
Tools To Implement The Pomodoro Technique
To implement the Pomodoro technique, it can be helpful to have a suite of tools available to you. This is because you’ll need a way to either communicate to other people that you’re busy or track time spent, and you’ll likely need tools to get the actual work done during the sessions. A few tools that are useful for Pomodoro:
- Hive — This tool is a robust project management tool with flexible project views. Hive also has a chat feature, within which you can set a status. If you want to set an emoji status of a tomato, your colleagues can now know that you’re in Pomodoro mode and shouldn’t be bothered. Coming soon: Hive is about to launch a “Focus Mode” where all notifications will be muted — ideal for Pomodoros.
- Focus Booster — If you need an app to track time spent, this is a great option. Focus Booster lets you time sessions, adjust the length of focus and work sessions, and your data syncs across all web and mobile apps, so you can use it on-the-go.
- Rescue Time — Rescue Time is a more robust time-tracking app that lets you automatically track time, block distractions, and generate reports on time spent. Over 2 million people use this app — that’s how you know it’s good!
- Pomodoro Tracker — This app is a simple, straightforward Pomodoro tracker, as the name suggests. You can input to-dos and track your 25 minute Pomodoros with the click of a button.
Try and remember that the Pomodoro technique is only built to make you more productive — it is not there to make you feel burdened with work and technicalities.
Every time that buzzer rings, you are setting a new milestone and making come concrete progress in your work. But not every method works for every person, so don’t feel pressured to continue working with Pomodoro if you find it difficult, distracting, or a waste of time.
Have you tried the Pomodoro technique before? Let us know in the comments below.