The Pomodoro Technique: How & Why You Should Start Using it NOW.

What is the Pomodoro Technique? It is a way of managing your time and tasks by working in sprints. The Pomodoro technique was developed in the 90s by Francesco Cirillo to improve his concentration. The method trains your brain to focus for short periods without distraction.

The Basics

  • Set a timer for 25 minutes, focus on one task
  • Take a 5-minute break
  • After the 5-minute break…Continue the same task or Pick A New Task
  • Do this again for 3 more sessions, with a 5-minute break between each
  • At the end of the 4th session, take a 15-30 minute break

4 session with the 5-minute break=2 hours

Tools

A timer. You can simply use the timer feature on your phone (it’s under clock on iphone). There is no need for a special app to start using this technique. If you are interested in an app below are a few, and there is a ton more out there. I personally like the apps that also allow you to track what tasks you are spending time on. I use Be Focused on my phone.

Mobile

Be Focused: Free (ios)
Focus Timer: $4.99

Desktop/Web

Focus Booster: Free-$5/month
Marinaratimer: Free 
Tomatoid: Free
Pomodone: Add a timer to your favorite time management tool

Other

You can also buy a physical timer, use a cooking timer or other device.

Suggestions To Maximize Your Sessions

Pick a specific task works best, so instead of “write a blog post”, “write a blog post on ________”. Instead of “research”, “research xyz topic”.

Plan out your tasks for the session ahead of time.

Close all tabs you don’t need.

Have everything you need to complete the task ready.

Keep a notepad beside you to jot down anything that you might need to follow-up on later not directly related to your current task (ideas do just pop up sometimes). 🙂
Move during your 5-minute breaks (we all know how bad sitting for too long is for your health).

Play with the length of sessions, it doesn’t have to be 25 minutes with a 5-minute break. It can be 45 minutes with a 15-minute break. It’s what works best for you. Also, if you are in the groove delay your break, take a break when you find yourself stalled or distracted. Maybe you need different timed sessions based on the type of task you approach.

Why You Should Try It

If you know you are spending too much time on one task

If you struggle to complete tasks or focus on one task

If you continuously end your days with little to show in terms of completed tasks or progress

You know you spend too much time on unrelated tasks (like checking email, social media etc)

You find yourself losing motivation or focus easily

Benefits

Increased Focus

Decreased distraction

Maximizing use of time (switching between tasks, kills momentum and wastes time)

Refreshes the mind (with breaks built in)

Makes the most of your work hours, in a concrete, focused manner.

Play with this technique, and you don’t have to see if you can do it for the whole day. Start with doing just one round of Pomodoros or maybe just one or two sessions. Don’t discount the whole method if you can’t fit in 4 consecutive sessions, it’s meant to help you manage your time, not be a rigid task master you hate.

Things to do during the 5-minute break: Whatever you want

However, here are a few things I do

  • Make a cup of tea
  • Go to the bathroom
  • Do dishes
  • Wipe down or dust something
  • Throw in a load of laundry
  • Stand-up and scroll Instagram
  • Plank/Sit-up/Squats (more of a this would be a good idea, less of what I actually do) 😉
  • Respond to texts (while standing up)
  • Gather supplies for my next session
  • Walk a lap or two around the house

I have not made myself use this session for a full 8 hours of work (my max is 8 total sessions). I just can’t seem to be that focused or disciplined, however, I like to use it for a session in the morning and a session in the afternoon. For me, those sessions make a world of difference and it’s better than 0 sessions. So my schedule with Pomodoro looks like this:

10:00-Session1
10:30: Session 2
11:00: Session 3
11:30: Session 4

Lunch (1 hour)

1:00 Session 1
1:30: Session 2
2:00: Session 3
2:30 Session 4

Walk (30-1 hour)

That does not mean, I’m not working before 10 or after 3, but I’m not using the 25-minute sessions. I also typically take an hour for lunch, with some social media catch-up in that hour and this schedule is not every day, since I have appointments too. This is to just give you an idea of how to approach the method.

You may want to start with just morning session or afternoon sessions at first. Keep in mind too that you don’t have to do the 4 sessions to have the technique work for you, if you can only get in one session, it is still super helpful. Again, I highly recommend you plan in advance what tasks you will tackle for a given session.

I challenge you to give this method a shot, really, what do you have to lose? The answer, not a damn thing, other than excuses. 😬 Grab the worksheet to get started!

Want to read some more about this technique?

This is a cool take on a year of Pomodoros (and how to bend the rules)
A little more science behind the method
The site dedicated to The Pomodoro Technique

Do you use or have you tried the Pomodoro technique? How did it work for you & how did you apply it to your day?