The Pomodoro technique is quite famous and it is one of the most used ones for productivity and discipline. The method is not new, in fact, it was “discovered” by Francesco Cirillo back in the 80s.
The idea is pretty simple. You divide your working hours in blocks of 25 minutes with 5 minute rest breaks. You work in short bursts of time, but with greater focus. This can help boost the motivation and the feeling of success and accomplishment.
Powerful technique that focuses on work sessions and promotes sustainable concentration and battle mental fatigue.
Francesco Cirillo was trying to find a method that works for him, forcing him to focus on his studies. He tried to commit to just a few minutes of pure focus and used a tomato shaped timer to help him.
The word Pomodoro is tomato in italian. Simple.
Since you are working in short bursts of time and a few breaks, you get the sense of accomplishment with every finished pomodoro. It is extremely effective and you can track every single task and get the job done with fewer distractions.
It can also bring you to a flow that can boost your productivity.
The timer is set to 25 minutes and 5 minute break. The most famous approach is four pomodoros and one long break of 20 minutes. You can repeat that as long as you can.
Don’t start with filling your entire day with pomodoros! Start small!
The technique is pushing a sense of urgency and it can push you to do the work. You can easily force yourself to do way more.
How can something so simple be so effective? We can start with pointing out that it is not that we, as people, are lazy or lack the self-control to do it. We most of the time feel intimidated by the amount of work we have or just don’t “feel” it enough.
This is the place and time that the pomodoro method kicked in. If the timer starts ticking, we know we have to work for only 25 minutes. We give a little bit of our control to the clock. And we start.
Some of the benefits are:
- You stay in focus
In my personal life, I have found that it brings me to the job, and I enter the flow zone pretty easily. I feel a little bit of dopamine when I hear the break signal and can’t wait for the next pomodoro. Since I know I have only 25 minutes, I don’t feel “scared” of the job.
- Get more work done
This benefit is connected to the previous one. Since I feel rushed, because of the timer, I try to get as most work done as possible. I am hearing the timer and constantly think that I don’t have time. I have to move fast!
Pretty powerful feeling.
- Speedrun most of the work
When I concentrate on one single task and try to work as fast as possible, I get a lot of work done in no time. I divide my personal projects and change them frequently. I am no longer feeling burnouts and fatigues.
Planning ahead is also a lot simpler, since I know what I have done and how much time I have spent on every project.
- Less distractions
It is incredibly easy to stay in focus. With this method, you forget about the phones, notifications and so on. You know you can check them in 10 or 15 minutes. Not a big deal. After all, you have a pomodoro running. The clock is ticking.
- More breaks
Most of the people I have talked to about this method, think that you work way too much. Actually with this method, you take very systematic breaks and it helps you relax and relieve stress.
I have been finding myself constantly before working hour after hour non stop, because I have been diving in a project or a problem. At some point, I just got a headache.
With this method now I take more breaks and feel more powerful.
- More gamified experience
It is very interesting how you can play a little game with yourself. One more pomodoro starts to feel like one more level in every game I have played. It becomes a little bit of an obsession sometimes. It’s very strange and yet very motivating.
- A real time tracker
One of the biggest benefits comes as no surprise. You get a very real sense of what you have actually accomplished. It may be a little bit of cold water, but sometimes we lie to ourselves without even thinking about it. We sometimes get the illusion that we work a lot, but when we see the real data, we really understand what and how we do.
When I first started using this method, I felt the progress immediately. It had a really big impact on the way I work and structure my day.
Usually when I have only 30 or 40 minutes before an event or a meeting ( or whatever ) I usually “waste” them and do nothing. Now I just push the button and start the clock. 25 minutes is enough to do a little bit of work.
It gives me focus and I can track my projects and tasks.
For my personal use I prefer toggl.com. I track every project separately and use it with the mobile app.
This method is useful for most jobs that require focus on a computer or creative work. One advice tho: Get away from the computer during breaks! Stretch a bit, walk around or focus on distant objects.
Give it a try for a week or two and see if it works for you!