Pomodoro Technique: What It Is and How I Use It.

I’ve always struggled to find productivity techniques that work for me. I’ve never really been very good at long-term organisation. But I’ve started to really push myself to get better.

I’ve known about the Pomodoro technique for a while, but never really stuck with it, until now. I’ve been using the technique for about two months now and I’ve found it super useful. But I had to make some small changes and additions to make it work. 

So here is how I use the Pomodoro Technique.

What is the Pomodoro Technique?

Pomodoro is the Italian for Tomato, which piqued my Italian-learning brain. The technique is named after a tomato-shaped kitchen timer owned by Francesco Cirillo, who developed the method. The Pomodoro Technique breaks down work into 25 minute intervals separated by short breaks. The underlying principle is simple but effective: focusing on one task at a time can enhance productivity and quality of work.

I watched a couple of videos and read Cirillo’s book, where he outlines some rules:

How Does the Pomodoro Technique Work?

  1. Choose a Task: Any task or project that requires your attention can be tackled using the Pomodoro Technique. This could be studying for an exam, writing a report, or even tidying up your workspace.
  2. Set a Pomodoro Timer: This is should be for 25 minutes. During this time, your job is to devote your attention to the task at hand and nothing else. If you get distracted, the pomodoro is void, and you restart the timer.
  3. Work on the Task: Work on your task until the timer rings. If a distraction pops into your head, jot it down for later and immediately get back to your task.
  4. End Work When the Timer Rings: As soon as your timer rings, put a checkmark on a piece of paper. This checkmark represents the completion of one “Pomodoro.”
  5. Record Your Sessions: Using a worksheet which Cirrilo has designed, record the task and how many pomos you took to complete it. 
  6. Take a Short Break: Now, you deserve a short break—around five minutes should suffice. Stretch, grab a coffee, or just rest. Do anything but work. This break is important as it helps to recharge your mental capacity.
  7. Repeat: After you’ve completed four “Pomodoros,” take a longer break, around 15-30 minutes. This will help prevent burnout and keep your mind fresh.

How I Use The Pomodoro Technique

The first few times I tried Pomodoro, I didn’t really get on with it. So here are a few rules that I put in place for myself:

  • I use Forest to track my Pomodoros rather than the worksheet. I found the worksheet to be one step too many. I have enough admin to do.
  • The first few pomodoros can be 10 minutes. I find I need to warm up to a 25 minute pomo, so while breaking the 25 minutes up is a cardinal sin in the book, I actually find it nice to break myself into the day. 
  • The first pomo is usually not work related. I usually will start my day with a 10 minute Italian learning Pomo, a cleaning pomo or a reading pomo. Sometimes an eating pomo. Just to warm me up and give an easy win.
  • I don’t stop when the timer stops. If I’m into something or close to finishing, I’ll let myself carry on for another 10 minutes. If I’m still working after that 10 minutes, then I take a break. Sometimes it’s hard to get back into something once you leave it.

How Does the Pomodoro Technique Helps Me?

Minimises Burnout: By scheduling regular breaks, the Pomodoro Technique ensures that your brain has time to rest and recharge, reducing the risk of burnout.

Combats Procrastination: The technique’s structure of manageable work periods can help overcome the initial resistance to starting a task.

Enhances Focus and Concentration: By encouraging mono-tasking over multitasking, the Pomodoro Technique trains your brain to focus on one task at a time, thereby improving your concentration.

Increases Productivity: It helps you make the most out of your time by turning time management into a game—each Pomodoro is like a challenge to finish the task at hand within the allotted time.

Boosts Motivation: The technique allows for immediate feedback in the form of completed Pomodoros, which can boost motivation and keep morale high.

Conclusion

The Pomodoro Technique is a flexible tool that can be tailored to suit your individual work style. Remember, the goal isn’t to finish a set number of Pomodoros each day—it’s to make steady, focused progress towards your goals. The Pomodoro Technique has some strict rules, but really, if you’re winning in your battle with your To-Do list, then that’s all that matters.

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