Managing your time on a busy schedule is not an impossible feat when you apply the pomodoro technique: 25 minutes of “work time” followed by a 5-10 minute break. Far too many people bite off more than they can chew — this tutorial will help those who have a hungry appetite for productivity, but need the tools to break them down.
Developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980’s, the Pomodoro technique is a time management method used to maintain steady work flow and focus. Cirillo coined the term “pomodoro” after the Italian word for tomato, inspired by the tomato-shaped kitchen timer he used to track his work progress as a University student. Pomodoro is simple and works in cycles. After every block of time spent working, you take a regular short break – this forms a complete set. Four sets is one pomodoro. After every pomodoro, you take a longer break.
Cirillo developed this technique to reduce the impact on workflow and focus. This technique is perfect for handling large projects and harrowing deadlines. With enough pomodoro cycles, you can improve your attention span and concentration for longer periods of time.
The Pomodoro technique is among the most simple and effective productivity methods used today. The technique inspired dozens of software developers to create special productivity apps that essentially break down into one singular tool: a timer. Although Cirillo specifically used a tomato timer, you get to choose your tools. All you need is a timing device – no installations, downloads, complicated setups.
Steps to the Pomodoro Technique
- Choose a task.
- Set the timer to 25 minutes.
- Work uninterrupted until the timer rings.
- Make a note of the first break (check marks, dots, stacks of paper.)
- Take a short break.
- Set the timer again to begin another set.
- Every four sets is a one pomodoro.
- After one pomodoro, take a long break.
Short breaks typically last for up to 5 minutes, whereas the longer breaks are between 15-30 minutes or however long it takes you to recharge. One pomodoro is 25 minutes long — that’s an entire 25 minutes of uninterrupted work now completed! You’ll be amazed at how much work can get done when your time is undivided and focused. Repeat this process throughout the workday for a few tasks and notice how much you can get accomplished. Make sure to really take your breaks with some coffee, water or a quick chat with a colleague!
According to Circillo, it should take about 1-3 weeks of using the pomodoro technique to “master” the process, however you will see the benefits immediately! Pomodoro helps track how long tasks take you to complete and help you identify peak hours of productivity. You may design and adjust it to your needs and is worth the try — you may be surprised at how many hours you get back!
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