Pomodoro Technique

There is a wonderful time management system called the Pomodoro Technique. Wikipedia defines it as:

“A time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. The technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks. These intervals are named Pomodoro’s, the plural in English of the Italian word Pomodoro (tomato), after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer that Cirillo used as a university student.”

It is simple, and as they say, the simplest things often work best. This revolutionary time management system is deceptively simple to learn and incredibly powerful when applied correctly. The Pomodoro Technique can be broken down into the following four basic principles.

1. Work with time: Many of us race the clock to finish assignments and meet deadlines. The Pomodoro Technique teaches us to work with time.

2. Eliminate burnout: Taking short, scheduled breaks while working eliminates the “running on fumes” feeling you get when you push yourself too hard. It’s almost impossible to overwork when you stick to the system.

3. Manage distractions: Calls, emails, Facebook messages or suddenly realizing you need to make a dentist appointment. . . distractions constantly bombard us. Usually, these distractions can wait.  The Pomodoro Technique helps you log your distractions and prioritize them for later.

4. Create a better work/life balance: Most of us are intimately acquainted with the guilt that comes from procrastination. If we haven’t had a productive day, we can’t seem to enjoy our free time. Or, the guilt may come from ignoring your loved ones due to overworking.  As a Pomodoro Master, you create an effective timetable and achieve your high-priority tasks, so you truly enjoy your time off with a knowing that you were productive by handling important items. 

The Process:
1) Choose a task
2) Set a timer for 25-30 minutes
3) Work on your task until the timer rings and put a checkmark on a tracker
4) Take a five-minute break 

        You just completed your first Pomodoro!

5) Repeat steps 1-4 three more times, followed by a 15-minute break.

pomodoro timer

You may be thinking “25 minutes of work? That’s nothing! This is going to be easy!” Remember, that’s 25 minutes of steady, focused work on one task. No multitasking. No emails. No phone calls. No checking Facebook. No distractions allowed!

Tips:

  • Use your phone timer.
  • Put your phone on airplane mode.
  • Work in a quiet place or use a good pair of headphones or earplugs.
  • Have a place to mark your Pomodoro checkmarks (whiteboard or notebook).
  • If distractions come up, take note to deal with later.  They may end up on your priority list.
  • Take 10-15 minutes each morning and evening to review and plan the day’s tasks.
  • Take 30 minutes at the end of each week to review the past week and plan for the next.
  • Have 5-8 high-value tasks identified at the start of each workday.
  • Prioritize these tasks and knock them off one by one, in priority order.
  • Remember that your energy level and attitude affect your work output.  Don’t beat yourself up if you’re not perfect. Just get back in the game when you become aware that you’re out.  

Write a comment below to let me know how this technique worked for you!

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