Have you ever had a mammoth list of to do’s, but end up not getting anything done because you are trying to do a bit of everything at the same time? We sure have. With so many projects, and tasks that need to be completed, keeping up with all of them can cause stress and anxiety.
If you’re feeling frustrated (we sure do sometimes), then you may want to try the Pomodoro technique.
What’s the Pomodoro Technique You Ask? Let me tell you!
The Pomodoro technique is a time-management system developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980’s. When he developed this system, he called it as it is because he made use of a tomato-shaped kitchen timer to set 25 minutes allotments for a task, thus the name Pomodoro (it’s the Italian word for tomato).
According to Cirillo, the Pomodoro technique is broken down into 6 incremental objectives. These are:
- Find out how much time is needed for a task.
- Lessen the interruptions.
- Learn how to set estimates for activities.
- Increase the Pomodoro Technique’s effectiveness.
- Create a time table.
- Define your own objectives.
How to do the Pomodoro Technique
To try this, you’ll need a kitchen timer with a steady, continuous, ticking sound that you can clearly hear. If you don’t have this kind of timer lying around in your house, there are apps available with the same function. Check them out below:
Once you have your timer, you’ll need to do the following:
- Choose a task. When choosing your task, it can be a big or small one. What matters is that it needs your undivided attention.
- Set the timer to 25 minutes. Turn your timer on and make a promise to yourself that you will focus on the task that you have on hand. Protect yourself from the external factors that could possibly distract you!
- Keep working until the timer rings. Stay absorbed within the task you’re doing for 25 minutes. This is a great time to reinforce self-discipline! If something pops in your head, quickly write it down and get back to it later.
- Tick the task off once you’re done. Way to go!
- Take a short break. For every Pomodoro you complete, take a 5-minute break.. You can do anything – make a cup of tea, take a quick walk, do some stretches! Just don’t think about your tasks for a bit. this will help to keep your mind fresh (like a tomato picked straight from the garden).
- When you complete 4 Pomodoros, take a longer break. This could range from 15 to 30 mins. Take this time to let your brain rest and get ready for the next round of tasks you need to do.
The beauty of the Pomodoro Technique is that it teaches us to work with time, not to struggle against it. Ever heard of Parkinson’s Law? It states that work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.
Simply put, say you have a task that’s due in a week’s time. Without setting a clear strategy on your timeline, you will most likely consume the full week to finish the task. What the Pomodoro Technique teaches us is to take on tasks one at a time, while enforcing focus and avoiding distractions.
Once you try it, you’ll notice significant changes such as:
Avoiding the habit of multi-tasking. According to research stated on Yale Insights, human beings can’t really do two things at the same time. We’re just switching our attention to these tasks back and forth, and leading us to do them both poorly. With the Pomodoro method, you are encouraged to take on one task at a time and focus on it.
Developing a sense of urgency and getting more things done. When you are laser-focused on a task, you are more inclined to finish the task immediately. There will be less chances of wanting to put the task off for another day. And once you’ve finished, you will likely move on to the next task with a clearer mind.
Achieve higher levels of willpower and concentration. As you employ the Pomodoro technique, you will notice that you are able to focus on your tasks better. It works wonders on a person’s ability to protect his/her tasks from distractions that always arise. Being able to achieve this level of discipline will keep you motivated as you gain better clarity on things that need to be done. And trust us, the feeling you get when you cross all those things off your list is just so rewarding!
Lower stress levels. When you learn that taking on tasks one at a time in a focused manner is heaps better, compared to trying to juggle them all together, you will never look back into multi-tasking. Destroy the belief that getting bits of tasks done here and there at the same time throughout the day equates to productivity. Be kinder to yourself and tackle one at a time.
What We Think About the Pomodoro Technique
Before we heard of it, we spent countless days feeling overwhelmed and frustrated at all the seemingly never-ending tasks. When we tried the Pomodoro technique, it paved the way for more time to do the things we actually love outside of work. It has taught us that tasks can actually be tackled, if we sit down, stay disciplined and focus on them one at a time.
An average person has 692,040 hours in its lifetime. An hour that is wasted is an hour gone forever. Give the Pomodoro Method a try and let us know how you go!