The Pomodoro System is an easy-to-adopt time management technique that helps you increase your productivity while keeping you fresh.
Entrepreneur and developer, Francesco Cirillo, invented it in the 90s. He came up with the idea as a student to track his work and avoid distractions. He named the system after the tomato-shaped cooking timer he used as a timer for the system.
The way that it works is super simple; when faced with any large task or series of tasks, the idea is that you break the work down into smaller chunks using time intervals of 25 minutes, called Pomodoros, and take a short break after each interval.
Because the system is cyclical, you work in short bursts for 25 minutes, ensuring that throughout the period you are constantly productive. You take a short break of 5 minutes after each Pomodoro, taking a longer break of 15 – 30 minutes after you have completed 4 Pomodoros.
So, how do you use the Pomodoro system for your workload and what advantages does it have? Let’s take a look.
Getting things done
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The Pomodoro system keeps you fresh
Because you work in short 25 minutes cycles, it focuses your mind and your attention on your work, and just when you may begin to flag, the timer tells you it is time to pause and take a break.
Once you get used to the system, your brain will fall naturally into this rhythm.
Pomodoro helps you avoid procrastination
Many people find it difficult to get started and will waste time on social media or looking for a “good reason” not to start.
Once you set the Pomodoro timer and the clock is ticking, it is hard to resist the urge to work as hard as possible. After all, it is only 25 minutes, so why not just do it, and take a break later?
Pomodoro reduces distractions
Many of us struggle with distractions in our working day. Colleagues, social media, unnecessary meetings, and phone calls can all eat up time and interfere with our concentration and thought processes. By sticking to the structure of the Pomodoro, you can avoid these distractions.
Adopt the ‘inform, negotiate, and call back’ strategy
Cirillo advises that this strategy will keep you on track and should be carried out in the following way;
- Inform the other party that you are working right now.
- Negotiate a time when you can get back to them.
- Call the person back once you have completed your Pomodoro and are ready to discuss their issue.
The Pomodoro system helps your time management
It can be easy to become lost in your work and work too long. With the regularly timed intervals, your working day is broken up into more manageable sections. It keeps you aware of the time spent on any particular task.
Pomodoro helps you understand how long any job will take you
Because you now are encouraged to be productive and focused on your task, you can understand exactly how long it takes. Without a structure in place, this can be difficult to assess.
So, for example, if you are a writer or a designer or any other type of creative, you can see just how long that so-called, “easy 10-minute job” actually takes to complete.
Pomodoro helps you avoid mental and physical burnout
Most people cannot concentrate for long periods, so adopting a system that requires regular breaks not only improves mental focus, it is also good for your health.
Standing up and moving for a few minutes in between Pomodoros is good for your muscles as well as for your brain. The breaks enable you to grab a drink, which will lead to you feeling healthier and better hydrated.
The Pomodoro system is flexible
If there is a distraction that can’t wait, just stop the timer until you can return to the task. Alternatively, you can start a new Pomodoro if you have to abort. Remember that this system is there for your convenience and is not an intractable ball and chain there to punish you.
Recording your daily Pomodoros tells you how you are doing
In the early days, you might only manage one or two completed Pomodoros, but with time and practice, you can usually increase your totals. Remember, even if you only complete a couple over the course of a day, you know that your time was spent productively.
The Pomodoro system is suitable for most types of tasks
So, even if you generally work offline, like an engineer or a plumber, for example, the Pomodoro system can still be useful for a wide range of purposes.
Using the Pomodoro technique helps you put a time limit on answering emails, for example, and because the system has these built-in breaks, it gives you a chance to review your work as you go along. This means that if you made any mistakes or some factors need to be clarified, you will be able to see them more quickly than had you just plowed through without stopping to reflect.
The Pomodoro system is easy to use
It is there to help you manage your time and the only equipment you need is a timer. You don’t even have to invest in a physical timer; you can just set the alarm on your phone. Of course, if you do want to truly embrace the Pomodoro technique, buying a tomato-shaped kitchen timer is the best way to go!
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