In this day and age where we are constantly connected and every form of media is incessantly competing for our attention, time management is a critical component to professional productivity. One way to take on this challenge is by utilizing the principles of the Pomodoro Technique.
Developed in the late 1980s, the Pomodoro Technique uses a timer to break down periods of work into 25-minute intervals, separated by short breaks. The method is based on the idea that frequent breaks can improve mental agility, keeping your mind fresh and focused. An essential aim of the technique is to reduce the impact of internal and external interruptions on focus and flow.
The technique also discourages multi tasking, which we have already established is not in your best interest. By working in concentrated bursts, you are able to hone in on one task with a laser-like focus.
6 steps to increasing productivity with the Pomodoro Technique:
1. Choose a task
2. Set your timer to 25 minutes
3. Work on the task until the timer rings
4. Take a 5 minute break
5. After four sets (100 minutes of work and 15 minutes of break time) take an extended break (15–30 minutes)
The Pomodoro Technique is named after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer that was first used by technique creator Francesco Cirillo; “pomodoro” being the Italian word for tomato.
Feel free to use an old school mechanical timer or a digital timer on your smartphone or find a Web browser extension to keep track of your 25-minute intervals for you.
The Pomodoro Technique can help you to get projects completed faster. By having a timer counting down, you may find yourself wrapping up a project more quickly than normal. Or, spreading a project out over several intervals can help to keep you from getting frustrated with your work.
If you’re a chronic procrastinator, what you may find is that if you set the timer and force yourself to get to work for 25 minutes, you’ll get much more done than you ever thought possible. Many times, the start is the hardest part. However, once you’re in the flow of the task, you may discover that you don’t want to stop until the project is completed. By constantly timing your tasks, you’ll become more accountable and less likely to spend time on non-important tasks like updating your social media statuses.
There’s just something about the mental obligation to work for only 25 minutes at a time, as opposed to a full eight hours that just feels like there’s a lot less pressure on you to perform. So choose an important task, grab yourself a timer and get to work…but only for 25 minutes.