What is it?
The Pomodoro Technique is a way of managing your time that makes you more productive, helps you focus better, and keeps you from overworking yourself.
It involves setting timers, working on a single thing for a fixed amount of time, and taking deliberate breaks at regular intervals.
Here’s how it goes:
1. Set a Timer
Choose a single task or project to focus on for 25 minutes. If the task you have in mind won’t take the full 25 minutes, feel free to group a few tasks together. Either way, make a list and have a plan.
Set a timer for 25 minutes and work ONLY on the tasks at hand. Put your phone to the side, don’t check your emails, and avoid all distractions. It’s just 25 minutes – you can do it!
This is your first Pomodoro
2. Take a Break
As soon as your timer goes off, stop what you’re doing. Immediately. ‘But I’m in the middle of something!’ you might say.
This is an even better reason to take a break now. Did you know that when you stop working on something when you’re right in the middle of it, it makes it easier to pick back up and keep going where you left off?
It’s really easy to decide to keep going just 3, 5, 10 minutes or even longer, because you’re in the zone, but this moment is critical to the success of the REST OF YOUR DAY. When you don’t take breaks you burn out sooner and accomplish less in the long run. (Yes, I’m talking to myself here too).
I’m not making this up. It’s scientifically proven.
As soon as that timer goes off, stop, get up, and disconnect for 5 minutes.
3. Repeat x 4
After your break, set another 25 minute timer and repeat. Pretty simple right?
TIP: If you’re still worried about when you’re going to get to your emails, plan one of your Pomodoros for admin work.
4. After your fourth Pomodoro, take a longer 15-30 minute break before starting all over again.
- Work for 25 minutes
- Break for 5 minutes
- Repeat x 4
- Take a longer 15-30 minute break
Rinse and repeat.
WHY DOES IT WORK?
There are a lot of reasons behind why this works, but here are two major reasons:
- The short bursts of work focused on a single task (or grouping of tasks) creates a sense of urgency that makes you focus more intently with less distractions.
- Taking enforced breaks is scientifically proven many times over to restore your energy, clear your mind, and help you to focus and work better afterwards. Here is just one study that says so.
Sometimes working less, really is more.
WHEN TO USE IT
You can use this any or all of the time. Try making it a regular part of your work day and just see how you like it.
However, maybe you’ve already found a workflow that you’re happy with (I prefer to work for 50 minute intervals with 15-minute breaks), and you don’t see a need for the Pomodoro in your life.
Don’t write it off just yet – it may still have its uses.
When You’re Avoiding Something
That’s right. For you professional procrastinators, this might be for you. If there’s something you’ve been avoiding for too long now, commit to work on it for just 25 minutes then reward yourself with a break.
Knowing you only have to work on it for 25 minutes before you can stop makes it less intimidating and much easier to commit to. Odds are, once you’ve started, you’ll find it much more manageable than expected, which makes it easier to pick up again later.
For Long, Draining Tasks
If there’s a big, overwhelming task that sucks the life out of you just thinking about it or is mentally exhausting, break it up into Pomodoros.
You’ll work better, faster, and have more energy at the end of 2 hours worth of Pomdoros than 2 hours of working straight through without resting.
The Pomodoro Technique is tried and tested and worth keeping in your time-management arsenal, even if you don’t use it on a daily basis. You might be surprised at just how much more productive AND energised you are by the end of the day, just by taking regular breaks.
Did you find any of this helpful? Don’t forget to subscribe for the latest blog posts and more content like this!