What is the Pomodoro Technique?
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management and productivity technique, it was developed in the 90s by software developer and entrepreneur Francesco Cirillo. Cirillo named the technique after the tomato shaped timer that he used. The idea of the Pomodoro Technique is simple; take a large task and break it down into small tasks, or Pomodoros. The method encourages you to work in short sprints, focusing your attention intensely for short bursts whilst taking regular breaks.
The only tool you will need to use the Pomodoro Technique is a timer. There are numerous free apps and online Pomodoro timers, though Cirillo himself preferred to manually set a timer, believing that manually setting a timer showed a determination to get a task completed.
Firstly, break your larger task down into smaller Pomodoros.
Set your timer for 25 minutes.
Work on the task until the timer rings.
Tick off your Pomodoro.
At the end of this take a 5 minute break.
Every 4 pomodoros take a longer 15-30 minute break.
Each Pomodoro is an indivisible work task therefore, if you are distracted midway through, perhaps by a colleague, you will need to either save your work and postpone until later to complete that Pomodoro, or postpone the distraction. If the distraction is in the form of another person Cirillo claims you need to “inform, negotiate and call back”.
Inform the other person that you are busy at the moment.
Negotiate when you will call them back and schedule this straight away.
Call back after the Pomodoro is complete.
It should be noted that a 5 minute break passes by pretty quickly so don’t do anything too absorbing or relaxing as you need to be ready to start again straight away afterwards. It’s a good idea to move away from your desk or work area, perhaps take a brisk walk or make a drink or check your social media. Don’t do anything too mentally stimulating, it’s important that your brain gets the break to encourage creativity
Why the Pomodoro Technique works
The Pomodoro technique works because it enables you to address two key problems, namely task sizer and Parkinsons law. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when faced with a big task, but it’s not too difficult to motivate yourself to concentrate on a particular short task for 25 minutes. It therefore ensures you are taking steps and making progress towards the overall task. Secondly Parkinsons Law, “work expands so as to fill the time available for it’s completion.” In other words, you may have set aside a day to complete a particular task, but when broken down into short steps and making every effort to complete each in 25 minutes could mean that a task you would otherwise have spent all day on, could be completed in 3 or 4 hours, thereby increasing your productivity.
Benefits of using the Pomordoro Technique
There are numerous benefits of using the Pomodoro technique:
- Increasing Productivity. A short burst enables you to get an individual task completed quickly.
- Drastically cut down your interruptions. By scheduling regular short breaks you are ensuring you are getting the breaks you need, but at the same time are still keeping disciplined. You become more aware of distractions and learn to manage them better.
- It enables you to see clearly how much effort an activity requires by the number of pomodoros used. This helps build a greater understanding of how long tasks take which helps to improve estimating of the length of time future tasks will take and therefore improves planning skills.
- It’s very useful for working towards a larger objective and getting it completed more efficiently.
- Ticking off each promodoro gives you a visual record of what you have achieved that day. This helps motivation, knowing that you have had a productive day.
- Having a clear end time helps to delineate work time from free time and enables you to enjoy your time off more.
Try giving the Pomodoro Technique a go and see what effect it has on your productivity. Remember to download our FREE Printable Pomodoro Planner to help you along your way.
Let us know how you get on. If this is of interest you might like to read more on Time Management.
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