The Pomodoro Technique: Manage time better

Everyone has varying attention spans, so it can be hard for some people to focus on a certain task over a time span. If you’re struggling to manage time or find it hard to focus uninterruptedly, then the Pomodoro technique is sure to help you out in increasing the productivity. A lot of people who adopted this technique got better results and strongly recommend it for others. So if you’re wondering what this technique is all about, read on to see how you can use it in your daily life.

What is the Pomodoro Technique?

The Pomodoro technique is a time management technique, developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. Pomodoro is an Italian word for Tomato. He came up with the name since he utilized a tomato-shaped timer when managing his time.

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The Pomodoro technique uses a timer to break down a specific work into a set of intervals separated by breaks. This method suggests breaking all the tasks in a day to 25-minute blocks. After each block, there is a break of 5-minute. These breaks are referred to as Pomodoro. After completing four Pomodoro, a longer break lasting between 15-20 minutes should be taken.

The timer instills a sense of urgency to keep you focused on the work. While engaging in the work at hand, you rule out all the distractions and focus on the task completely. After a 25-minute block, a mandatory break needs to be taken as it helps you relax and also acts as a bridge to plan out the next block.

The technique can be employed for any task and make them more streamlined. The tasks can be tracked better and you can avoid spending more time on tasks that aren’t productive.

The six steps of the Pomodoro Technique:

  • Decide the task and find out how much effort it requires.
  • Set a timer to 25 minutes (either with an egg timer or with an app).
  • Work on the task for 25 minutes straight. Remove unwanted distractions and focus only on the task at hand.
  • Put a checkmark on the To-do list once you finish.
  • Take a 5-minute break to rejuvenate yourself, then start another Pomodoro.
  • Take a 15-20 minute break after completing four Pomodoros.

When you look at it for the first time, it looks simple and not so convincing maybe. But when you try it, you’ll get to know that it is very effective. This method helps you rule out unwanted distractions such as going through your phone repeatedly, checking emails, etc.

Stages of the Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique involves these 5 important stages explained below. The workflow of the Technique looks something like this:

Planning -> Tracking -> Recording -> Processing -> Visualizing.

  • Evaluate the effort required: You start by planning the effort required for a task and evaluating how long it takes for getting the desired result. Normally, this is only a prediction and you can estimate it better once you do it multiple times.
  • Tracking the work you do: The timer that you set regulates the work you do and you have to keep away all distractions during this 25-minute block. A strong focus on the task is required to maintain a productive state.
  • Recording the efforts: The efforts are then recorded on a To-Do list which lets you know of the results after each Pomodoro. This list provides a sense of accomplishment and gives you room for growth as you can tweak them on the subsequent Pomodoros.
  • Processing the information: Any time left after that completion of a work is devoted to overleaning. This helps to improve the skill over time if you find yourself finishing the task well before the end of the 25-minute block.
  • Visualizing the information: After the completion of the task, the information has to be visualized and seen as a chance to streamline the workflow further. You can visualize the results in the form of a graph or chart to track the overall result for a longer span of time.

Advantages of the Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique comes with a lot of advantages that help you manage time better such as:

  • Focus on one task at a time and eliminate multi-tasking.
  • It creates a sense of urgency to finish the task no matter what.
  • Take necessary breaks in between for assimilation and to avoid experiencing burnout.
  • Manage time better and increase productivity.
  • Spend only the right amount of time and not spend anything more or less.
  • Get into the Flow or zone state.

Disadvantages of this Technique:

There are a few disadvantages to this, as it requires all the task to fall into the 25-minute block. Some tasks may require a longer span or some may need only several minutes. The Technique also has a caveat that if you don’t spend the complete 25-minute block on doing a task, then it isn’t counted as a Pomodoro. So you consider each Pomodoro as a sign of progress and usually find yourself not involved in tasks if you know that another task or distraction might get in the way. For example, if you start a Pomodoro at 5 PM but have a meeting at 5:20, then you might hesitate to start the Pomodoro. In such instances, you lose out on a few productive minutes.

Can you tailor the technique for yourself?

Absolutely. The Pomodoro technique is a strategy that you can tailor according to your needs. Some of the common modifications that I’ve seen people do are:

Combine two or more Pomodoros

While this isn’t part of the original technique, it should work for a few people who can stay focused for a longer span of time. It usually means spending about 50-minutes (2 Pomodoro) or more on the same task without an interval in between. This can help to be more focused on the task but comes with the cost of missing out on the break to assimilate the facts. For example, doing project work or writing an assignment may not require a break in between all the time. So 2 Pomodoros can be combined here.

Combining more than 2 or more is not optimal for most people since you can find it hard to stay concentrated. But if you are someone who has continuously practiced this technique, it shouldn’t be that hard.

Count Partial Pomodoros

On occasions where an unavoidable situation comes, you would have to give up on that Pomodoro to get that done. While this doesn’t count as a Pomodoro on the standard version, you would have to give credit for the work you do. So it’s worthwhile to write down the particular amount of time on the list for it to count towards the total productivity.

This isn’t always advisable as you might start taking distractions too less seriously. But it can be done on a few instances to give yourself a morale boost to make use of even smaller time blocks effectively.

This book is highly recommended if you are procrastinating way too much and need a way out: How To Stop Procrastinating.

Conclusion

The Pomodoro Technique teaches you to value time more and avoid multi-tasking. The time is ticking away even as you read this. It’s important to utilize most of the time on what really matters to you. So make it a habit to spend more time productively and be the person you want to be.

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