Let’s continue our discussion on using our time wisely, and talk a little bit about the Pomodoro Technique because it is an important tool for task management big and small. I’ve talked about this in a few previous posts, which I will link to below.
I have to tell you that the moment I heard of this, I immediately loved the idea and could see the many applications of it.
What is the Pomodoro Technique?
The Pomodoro technique is something invented in the 1980’s. If you were wondering, Pomodoro is the Italian word for tomato and the inventor called it that because he was using a mechanical kitchen timer in the shape of a tomato to time his progress.
In the traditional Pomodoro method, you use a 5 to 1 ratio–usually 25 minutes on, 5 minutes off–to time your work periods. Using a mechanical kitchen timer, the inventor decided that he was going to work intensely on something for 25 minutes, and then take a short break. He’d get back into it, doing sets of 25 on, 5 off, until he’d completed four of these timed sets. Then at the end of the fourth set, he’d take a longer 15-30 minute break. This whole cycle is called a Pomodoro.
Okay, that’s cool, but why is something like that supposed to work?
The Pomodoro technique can increase intense focus, and keeps you working in short sprints to ensure you are consistently productive throughout the entire day. You can still take short breaks, get up and use the bathroom, go grab some more coffee, and these mini-breaks will help you to avoid burnout.
Are you a procrastinator? Trick your brain into doing just a little work, for a very short amount of time.
The Pomodoro technique can help you minimize fatigue inside an office setting by not sitting too long, and outside an office setting by not standing too long.
With the Pomodoro technique, you can manage your time better and actually get more work done, despite the breaks. It’s easy to implement, all you need is a clock or a timer, and it’s simple to integrate with other productivity tools and to-do lists.
What’s the best way to implement this into the system you already have in place?
Try it and fine tune. I like to work in 35 minute bursts. Longer than that and I can’t seem to focus. Shorter than that, and I feel like I can’t get anything done. With the 35 minutes, I’m working on a word sprint, I’m trying to get a chapter edited, I’m outlining a character’s story arc. I focus intensely for that 35 minutes on attacking one thing on my list for the day. When that timer on my phone goes off, I stop what I’m doing, wherever I’m at in that process, and take 5-10 minute ‘breaks’ in-between where I hydrate, use the bathroom, go swap a load of laundry, put the dishes away. I swap my brain to more mindless tasks for just a few minutes. Then I can come back to my important tasks a little more clear-headed, and focus in on them again.
As promised, you can check out my other blog posts on the Pomodoro Technique below: