GET SHIT DONE.
DON’T JUST WORK, BE PRODUCTIVE WITH THE POMODORO TECHNIQUE
Do you ever have those days where you have a million things to do, and no matter how hard you try, it feels like you never actually get anything done?
Or, when you have a million things to do, and no idea where, or how to get started?
My personal favorite is when I get so overwhelmed by the amount of work I have to do, that I don’t want to do it at all.
And, the endless distractions? Ugh.
Trying to work can be stressful, and I’ve found a really simple and great technique that not only helps me get work done, but it alleviates the anxiety I feel when I don’t think I’ve done enough for the day. There’s truly a huge difference with working, and being productive, and The Pomodoro Technique will help you understand that.
WHAT’S WITH THE DEAL WITH THE TOMATOES?
The Pomodoro Technique is a time-management method, created by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s. It’s named after those adorable tomato-shaped kitchen timers, which is what he used to help create his interval-based productivity system. Pomodoro is the Italian word for tomato.
It’s a very simple technique: create a list, set a timer, work, take a break and repeat. That’s it. The best part is, you only need a timer, pen and paper. Literally, anyone can use this, and you can get started with it right now.
When I use Pomodoro intervals to tackle my day to day tasks, I can feel how much more focused I am. Once my timer is on, I immediately start to dive into my work.
It’s very surprising how much you can actually accomplish in just a few short 25 minute increments. This technique really shows how little time we actually require to accomplish most things, and that the lack of focus or presence of work-related anxiety can truly make what should be ten minute tasks an all-day, or on-going affair.
Another huge aspect of this system is making sure you check off your tasks as you complete them. Not exactly innovative, but we all know how rewarding it is to see things crossed off our list. When used with the timer, it’s a definite productivity booster. In my mind, I almost become in a competition with myself, where my main goal is to check off as many boxes as I can, in as few intervals as I can.
Another area where I find this to be helpful is in minimizing distractions. Whether it’s notifications on our phones, endless scrolling on apps, emails, impromptu meetings, or phone calls, it can really be hard to stay in the zone.
When your interval has started, you essentially are creating a boundary for your time, you have to tell yourself: No social media, no phone calls, no answering messages, or watching tv during the next twenty-five minutes—this is my time.
Usually, the 25 minutes don’t feel long enough—it’s so peaceful when you’re just focused on one thing. Always giving in to mindless distractions really steals a lot of time, energy and sanity from you.
HERE’S HOW TO DO IT:
1. MAKE A LIST
First, figure out what you need to do in your day. I like to prioritize my tasks so that I don’t have an endless list, and of course, so that I focus on the most important, time-sensitive things first.
2. SET YOUR TIMER
Set your kitchen timer, or phone’s timer for 25 minutes—there are tons of apps and browser extensions available if you want something more dedicated.
Get to work! Focus on your task for the duration of the 25 minute timer.
4. STOP & TAKE A BREAK
When the timer stops, so do you. Check off, or scratch out your completed tasks from that interval, and then, take a short five minute break. Get some fresh air, a cup of tea, stretch, etc., get up and get moving to clear your mind.
After your five minute break, reset your timer, pick a new task, and then, start the process over again. After four intervals, you can take a longer break, maybe 15-30 minutes long, and then you can start again. By now, you should have completed quite a few tasks, and you can choose to continue, or save the rest for another day.
That’s it! It’s super easy.
The Pomodoro Technique isn’t complicated, however, you can completely customize it to fit better with your style of working. You can create more intricate task lists, timetables, and trackers, you can adjust the interval times, or whatever you want. There’s no limit to how you can use this to execute your daily tasks.
I love it as is though.
A few things I like to do to make sure this is as effective as possible for me, are to put on Classical music, or musical scores from soundtracks, clean off my work area before getting started, and if possible, I love setting ambiance to work to: lighting unscented white candles, and using calming scents in my oil diffuser to help me feel more relaxed.
I think the best part of implementing a time-management tool like Pomodoros into your life, is that you not only become more productive, you also become a faster worker who is more focused, and less stressed—and as a cherry on top: it leaves with you more time for the things you actually want to be doing.
BTW: Do you guys have any other time management or productivity techniques that you use? I’d love to hear about them in the comments! If you try out this method, let me know what you think!