The Pomodoro Technique – Work In Time Chunks

In my unending search to seek productivity increases, I stumbled across something called the Pomodoro Technique. I tried this yesterday for the first time and found it to be very helpful in eliminating distractions and focusing 100% on the task at hand.

What it is

This technique was created by Francesco Cirillo. As he says on his website, “For many people, time is an enemy. We race against the clock to finish assignments and meet deadlines. The Pomodoro Technique teaches you to work with time, instead of struggling against it.”

If you’re wondering what the heck a pomodoro is, it is an interval of time in regards to this technique. According to handy dandy Wikipedia, that is the plural in English of the Italian word pomodoro (tomato), named after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer that Cirillo used as a university student.

You don’t necessarily need a tomato shaped timer for this exercise. Your phone timer or a web-based timer should work just fine.

How it works

1. Choose a task you’d like to get done

It can be big or small, something you need to do now or even that you’ve been putting off for awhile now. It must be something that deserves your complete focus and attention.

2. Set the Pomodoro for 25 minutes

Set a timer for 25 minutes. Make a promise to yourself to stay focused for the full 25 minutes on the task at hand.

3. Work on the task until the Pomodoro rings

Immerse yourself in the task for the next 25 minutes. If you realize you have something else you need to do, write it down on a paper and come back to it later.

4. When the Pomodoro rings, put a checkmark on a paper

Nice work! You’ve successfully focused for 25 minutes on the task at hand without interruption.

5. Take a short break

Take a quick break. Feel free to do non-related work to just wind down and prepare for the next session.

6. Take a longer break after every 4 pomodoros

Once you’ve completed four pomodoros, you can take a longer break (20-30 minutes is good).

Take a longer break after four pomodoros. This allows your brain to assimilate new information and rest before the next round.

You can modify this exercise slightly to better fit your needs. Perhaps you want to work for 40 minutes and then reward yourself with 10 minute breaks. The most important thing is that you try to minimize distractions when focusing on a certain task. I intend to keep my phone in “Do Not Disturb” mode where a call will only go through to my phone if I get a call from the same number twice within a few minutes. Usually, people call once and leave a voicemail or send a text. If it’s an emergency, chances are they might call a few times in a row in which case I will answer to see what the issue is.

Let me know what you think and if you’ve tried this before or anything similar. I’m always eager and willing to learn new techniques to continue to refine my productivity. Happy pomodoro-ing!

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Chris Bello

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