The Pomodoro Technique and How It Boosts Productivity

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gray double bell clock

If I told you that tomatoes hold the key to unlocking your productivity, you’d rightly think I’m mad.

Orrrr, you’d follow that curious instinct and read on to find out how you can utilise this well-known but under-appreciated creative hack!

Designed by developer and entrepreneur Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980’s, the time-saving technique is based on the “pomodoro” (those little tomato shaped cooking timers). The word “pomodoro” is Italian for tomato.

This video breaks down the 6 steps involved:

Here they are in written form for those of us on bathroom breaks or escaping reality for 5 minutes:

  1. Decide on a single task that you are going to work on, and write it down
  2. Set a timer for 25 minutes
  3. Work on the task continuously for 25 minutes
  4. When the timer rings, take a 5-minute break
  5. Set the timer again and work for another 25 minutes
  6. After 3-4 sessions of 25-minute “pomodoros” take a longer 20-30 min break and start again from step 2

So the technique is essentially breaking down our work schedule into digestible sprints.

The idea behind the Pomodoro technique is to increase our focus during bouts of work.

Rather than approaching the next 8 hours of a work day feeling overwhelmed and having a severe lack of motivation, this technique helps us to organise our productivity and minimise distractions.

I wouldn’t object to anybody that’s thinking this sounds like standard marketing fare but from my own experience, I’ve found the Pomodoro technique to be very useful.

If you’re like me, it’s easy to get distracted, especially working remotely. There’s no end to phone calls, emails and texts trying desperately to derail your day.

Employing a technique like this allows your brain to shut those things off for a dedicated 25 minutes and address them on your 5-minute break.

Or, just take 5 minutes to stretch your legs, exercise, or take a quick stroll. All of which have their benefits for our general well-being and mindset.

When we pour ourselves into mentally intensive work for long periods of time, fatigue sets in pretty quickly; this technique alleviates some of the mental (and physical) strain that we all encounter.

The other big detractor from getting things done is procrastination.

When people procrastinate, it has nothing to do with being lazy. It’s more about trying to avoid negative feelings and emotions, so we avoid the task altogether.

The Pomodoro technique combats that irrational fear by making tasks more manageable for us. Instead, our brain goes, “It’s only 25 minutes right?”

Summing Up

So, if you’re looking to get better organised and increase productivity during your work days, give the Pomodoro technique a try. It won’t cost you much time but it could save a whole lot in the long run.

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The Pomodoro® Technique

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