When it comes to being productive, we all think about how we want to use our time. We want to do things that matter and make a difference to our life’s goals. And, for some people it can be an all or nothing venture – meaning you either go, go, go, or you give up and do nothing. But, if you are willing to try The Pomodoro Technique, you might find that you develop a different habit when it comes to using your time productively.
The Pomodoro Technique
When I asked David James – a digital marketing specialist, what he did in his day to stay productive, he said this:
The best thing that I’ve adopted is The Pomodoro Technique. This allows me to work in focus sessions and to actually keep myself accountable for completing the tasks that I am working on, as well as how I use my time to achieve my goals. It’s very useful and you can actually see how much time you spent productively during the day.
Here’s a good video describing The Pomodoro Technique
We’ve talked about taking breaks for productivity and how one study found that the perfect time to work was 52 minutes with a 17-minute break afterwards. But, The Pomodoro Technique has a different formula for the perfect work and break timing. It encourages you to use a timer and work 25 minutes and take 3-5 minute breaks repeated three times, and then work 25 minutes and take a longer break of 15-30 minutes. Then repeat.
It’s not just good for work. It’s a productivity technique to help you be productive in any area of life.
Apparently it’s called The Pomodoro Technique because the developer, Francesco Cirillo, used a tomato timer and pomodoro means tomato in Italian.
You can find some tomato timers for sale on Amazon – if you really want to stay true to the name, or you can go to this website where you can click on ‘Pomodoro’ for a 25-minute timer, ‘Short Break’ for a 5-minute timer, and ‘Long Break’ for a 10-minute timer – which is what I guess they consider a long break!
It’s About Getting Things Done
Even though you are taking a lot of breaks, you are spending much more time being focused on important tasks and getting things done.
The technique requires you to spend 25 minutes in complete focus. And, one thing I learned from Simpleology is that when you learn how to direct your focus onto what matters, you can get done in one day what used to take you a week.
The Pomodoro Technique’s Time Can Be Tweaked To Meet Your Needs
The technique is really about working with focus and then taking a break. While the original method may work for some people, you can tweak it to meet your needs.
Trying Pomodoro technique (20 on and 3 off) to stay mobile throughout the day and it’s also really helpful to make my coding time efficient 😊 #100DaysOfCode
— Thea 👩🏻💻🐈🌌🔭 (@highflyer910) April 22, 2018
The technique I use to get stuff done in the Pomodoro technique in which you work for a set amount of time (e.g., 40 minutes) and then have a 15 minute break between sessions. There are plenty of Pomodoro apps available, but you can just use a simple timer if you want. pic.twitter.com/ZsKJOmkBPu
— Dan Quintana (@dsquintana) February 7, 2018
If you watched the video, you heard the guy mention that he may increase the time he studies if he thinks it’s needed. So, really, he could end up doing 52 minutes on with a 17-minute break if he felt that’s what he needed to do.
I think the most important thing to remember is that breaks are important to productivity. If you work yourself to the point of being tired or strained, you can easily get frustrated, make mistakes, give up, or do things poorly.
For instance, when I asked a Communications and Media Coach what was one thing she did to stay productive in her day, she said the following:
Believe it or not, I take a break.
I’ve learned over a long career to take time to breathe. To be specific to your question: I take a lunch break away from my desk.
It was difficult at the beginning, but I found I can be more creative, more productive and more “ready for anything” when I get a change of scenery. This is most pronounced in the midst of a high stress situation. Taking a short break as simple as a coffee break, helps me deal with crises in a more measured, deliberate and thoughtful manner.
The Pomodoro Technique Is Great For People Who Want To Feel Rewarded
One of the major issues with learning is that we procrastinate. The best way to overcome it, allow for focus, and encourage consolidation is the pomodoro technique with a nice reward. https://t.co/UoobsipsSO
— Shane Parrish (@farnamstreet) April 18, 2018
The beauty of this technique is that you know you have a reward coming after 25 minutes – a break. You can make your breaks as rewarding as you like knowing that if you just put in a few minutes of concentration, you are going to get rewarded with something you enjoy at the end.
What can you do in your small 5 minute breaks?
- Watch a video.
- Talk to a friend.
- Play with your dogs.
- Take a short walk.
- Have a quick snack.
- Get some fresh air.
- Read a page of your favorite book.
And your long 30 minute break? All of the above for a much longer time.
Also Great For Helping You Meet Deadlines
If you’re having trouble getting things done, I cannot recommend the Pomodoro technique enough. 25 minutes of focus is so powerful!
— insaneintherainmusic (@insanerainmusic) October 2, 2017
Instead of forcing yourself through a 48 hour marathon because something is due in that time, try The Pomodoro Technique and get a ton done while still taking breaks.
It’s going to help you get things done without the stress and strain of working on something without breaks. But, you are going to get in a focus like you may not have experienced before, because, in the land of distractions, it can be hard to focus for 25 minutes straight!
Works For People Who Have A Hard Time Concentrating For Too Long
Lastly, one of the things I saw in the reviews of this technique was that it worked great for people who had a hard time concentrating for a long time, or who had a short attention span.
It not only added structure and focus to what they were doing, but it ensured that their brain knew it was going to get a break as soon as the timer went off and made it easier to stay on track for the allotted time.
In the end, it’s a great productivity hack, and if you haven’t tried it, you may want to give it a try. You can learn more about this technique on Francesco’s website here.