Does The Pomodoro Technique Work?
You know that mental resistance you get when you’re trying to complete a task, but your mind refuses to cooperate? You’re tempted to do mundane tasks instead that don’t require much brain power. Procrastination can be hard to tame. I know I’d rather be in that amazing state where things just seem to flow. Fortunately, there’s a work around for that infamous time-stealer we call procrastination. What if I told you there was a simple, yet powerful strategy that works to increase productivity, while managing distractions? Does the Pomodoro Technique work?
Time Management Made Easy
The Pomodoro Technique is a time-management tool that uses a timer to break down periods of work into intervals of 25 minutes. Each of the 25-minute intervals, or pomodoros, are separated by short breaks. Interestingly, the Italian word “pomodoro,” is the name for a tomato-shaped kitchen timer that was used by its founder Francesco Cirillo. There are many websites and apps that provide instruction and tools for this widely popular technique.
How To Use The Pomodoro Technique
There are specific strategies you can use in your everyday life to accomplish more in less time. Let’s explore these techniques in detail:
Focus On One Task
Choose a task you need to complete. Now set a timer for 25 minutes. This can be difficult if you’re a multitasker like me, but force yourself to focus on the project at hand. Don’t yield to the temptation to do or think about anything else. With practice, you can get really good at pro-rating your time into 25-minute intervals.
If someone calls or texts, resist the urge to respond, or better yet, turn your phone off or put it in another room. You can return your calls and texts during your break. Most likely, nothing life-threatening will happen while you’re concentrating on your work.
When the timer rings, immediately stop what you’re doing, and walk around, stretch, return a call, or check your email. You get the point. You only have five minutes before your next interval. Repeat this process three more times for a total of four, 25-minutes intervals. Think about how much you can accomplish in an hour and 40 minutes if you’re not distracted, and your attention is totally focused?!
After the fourth interval, take a half hour break or longer if you need to, and then repeat the four-interval session. Of course, how many times you do this will depend on the time frame you’re working within. Please use a timer when using this technique as you don’t want to work for too long without taking a break.
If your mind is constantly spinning with ideas like mine is, instead of entertaining these ideas, jot them down on a piece of paper. Have a notepad handy in case this happens so your focus isn’t broken. Always prepare ahead of time for your session.
How To Eat An Elephant
Think about this – a task that has a hard stop to it, is not only easier to begin, but easier to finish as well. Plus, the overwhelm isn’t as great if you know you can work in intervals with breaks in between. These breaks give both your body and mind a break, freeing up your brain power, and easing the strain on your body. You’ll then be geared up for the next 25-minute power session.
It goes back to that age-old question: “how do you eat an elephant?” We all know the answer: “one bite at a time.” The Pomodoro technique is a mind hack, the idea being that accomplishing projects in bite-sized pieces increases productivity, reduces burnout, and prevents that horrible feeling of dread that’s so common when anticipating a difficult task that has to be done, and only you can do it.
Breaking your work down into manageable pieces, not only helps you overcome mental resistance, but provides a refreshing reframe for what needs to be accomplished. This is significant because mental resistance is the main cause of procrastination. I write every day and this technique has proved to be invaluable for my affiliate marketing business. You can read more here. Not only has it improved my writing, it has made me more prolific in the articles I’m able to produce.
What Works For You?
The 25/5 interval/break session is not set in stone. Personally, I like working for 30 minutes with a ten-minute break in between. Sometimes I’ll set my timer for 45 minutes with a 15-minute break. I don’t work longer than 45-minute intervals, however, as studies have shown that human productivity decreases with prolonged strain.
After all, the brain is a muscle, and tires when overworked. You wouldn’t work the muscles in your body longer than 45 minutes, so why not give your brain the same courtesy. I find my writing to be more accurate and higher quality when I work for designated amounts of time with frequent breaks.
How you manage this technique is up to you, and the benefits will be amazing no matter what time duration you choose. The human mind instinctively craves distraction, in order to counteract this natural desire, hone and fine tune your attention skills by forcing yourself to focus intensely for a set time period. You’ll also get a handle on your habitual procrastination if that’s a problem for you. Sometimes getting started can be the biggest hurdle.
Like any skill, you’ll see improvements in your time management, and that familiar overwhelm we all face when starting a new or a difficult task won’t be so daunting. The Pomodoro Technique is also a great tool to use when meeting a deadline, as it allows you to pace yourself. Your work becomes less of a burden when consistent discipline and commitment are on board, and you’ll find yourself working better, not necessarily harder.
Click the picture below to check out the book this article is based on:
Best Pomodoro Apps
Because the Pomodoro Technique is so popular, there are a variety of apps available. Here are five you can check out:
1. Pomotodo: Windows, Mac, IOS, and Android
2. PomoDoneApp: Windows, Mac, IOS, Android
3. Be Focused: Mac and IOS
4. Focus Booster: Windows, Mac, IOS, Android
5. Tide: IOS and Android
Of course you can use the timer on your phone too, just make sure it doesn’t distract you.
Let’s Wrap This Up
The busy, harried lives we live today are replete with tasks that need to be done, and often on a deadline. Time management can feel futile at times, but fortunately there are tools available to increase efficiency. The Pomodoro Technique breaks down tasks into intervals of 25 minutes with short breaks that renew and refresh. Essentially, you’ll get more done in less time.
No matter how arduous the task, we can all do something for 25 minutes, especially if you know that recess, or a small break, is right around the corner. Give the Pomodora Technique a try today!
Do you have an effective method to manage your time? Have you heard of the Pomodoro Technique? Please take the time to share your tips and tricks below. It gets the conversation started.