Are you frequently distracted during your tasks? Does your to-do list feel overwhelming, and you don’t know where to start? The Pomodoro Technique can help you concentrate on your tasks, 25 minutes at a time. I tend to get lost in a concentrated focus while working. Hours can go by before I realize, and by then, I’ve lost out on time to do other tasks. Using the Pomodoro Technique ensures that I get enough breaks to stand up and walk around and prevent my brain from getting too tired.
The term Pomodoro comes from the Italian word for tomato. It is designed after the cute tomato kitchen timer that clicks as it winds down and lets out a chime when the time has run out. Francesco Cirillo invented it in the 1980s.
Setting it Up
Using the Pomodoro Technique is very easy to do by hand.
Here is what you need:
- A timer (kitchen timer, or the timer on your phone works)
- Pen or pencil
Write down your tasks for the day. Sort them in order of priority. Is there something that is harder to do or you know will take more of your focus? Choose that task to work on first, as this is when you’ll have the most energy.
Set your timer to 25 minutes and start working. Once the timer counts down, set the timer to 5 minutes and take a break. If you have been sitting, stand up and stretch and walk around. Sitting in the same position can cause a lot of back issues and is said to be very unhealthy. Once your break is over, set the timer back to 25 minutes and repeat the cycle. Once you have finished four pomodoros, set your break timer to 30 minutes. This is also a great time to take your meal break.
You can track how much time you spend per task by marking your pomodoros. I draw a circle next to the to-do for every pomodoro completed. When I finish the task, I draw a line through it and move on to the next one. When you are finished for the day, you can count your pomodoros and see if your task management was on the dot or not.
If you keep a Bullet Journal, you can keep a running task list and take note of how much time you’re spending on each task. Using this information, you can practice planning your time and tasks so that you’re better able to manage your time. In time, you’ll know when you’re getting over-extended, and you can practice saying “no” to people and events.
Apps to Use with the Pomodoro Technique
There are also apps to keep track of your pomodoros and task list. Here are a few that I have used in the past.
- Focus (iOS, Mac) – what I used on my iPhone
- Focus Keeper – Time Management (iOS)
- Focus To-Do (Android, iOS, Mac, Windows, Chrome)
- Toggl (Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, Mac) – what I use currently
The shorter way to do many things is to only do one thing at a time.Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
The Keys to Success
The Pomodoro Technique is simple and easy to follow. The only rule to follow is to make sure your pomodoro is uninterrupted with no distractions. No matter the interruption, it can always wait until your next break. Break time is when you can catch up with your friend, the urgent email that just came in, or respond to your work chat.
If you finished your task using your pomodoros, that’s it! There’s no need to linger on your work or project to “improve” it. Good enough is good enough. It’s amazingly freeing to be able to let go of a finished task to move on to the next one.
How was your Pomodoro Technique experience? Has it made a difference in your productivity?