The Pomodoro Technique: Prepare, Do, Learn

An easy way to resist distractions and increase productivity

The Pomodoro technique is a way to break down to-do’s into small tasks of 25 minutes, taking a 5-minute break after each chunk. I recently got introduced to this time management technique by a colleague of mine, Dominik Berger, who slightly adapted it for is work needs. The approach seems to be something worth trying, especially because I always have the feeling that there’s a better and more productive way to use time while working on tasks. In this post, I describe the technique at a glance and try to inspire you to use in your workflow.

Pomodoro is the Italian word for tomato. (Photo by Maryna Yazbeck on Unsplash)

Background

The Pomodoro technique was developed in the 1980s by Francesco Cirillo. Pomodoro is the Italian word for tomato and is an allusion to the kitchen clock that Cirillo used in his first attempts with the time management method. Its design was based on a tomato.

The basic process

The Pomodoro technique can be broken down into the following steps:

  1. Pick a task you want to get done.
  2. Set a timer to 25 minutes.
  3. Work on the task until the timer goes off.
  4. Put a checkmark on a paper after completing the task.
  5. Take a break of 5 minutes.
  6. Repeat the steps above four times.
  7. Take a break of 15 to 20 minutes after four tasks completed.

Take the fight to distractions

In recent years, the Pomodoro technique seems to have gained more and more followers — probably because of its simplicity. You only need an alarm clock or a watch and you’re ready to go! In our increasingly complex world, we look forward to having simple solutions.

Another reason for the technique’s popularity might be the change in the way we work. We are increasingly exposed to internal and external distractions. It’s getting more and more difficult to concentrate on one thing for a specific amount of time. Not to be disturbed during work is essential for achieving good results. The Pomodoro technique may be worth a try.

External distractions: colleagues who only have a brief question, the ringing telephone, numerous meetings that interrupt the work process.

Inner distractions: the impulse to read incoming e-mails immediately, visiting the preferred social media platform out of curiosity and procrastination, digressing.

What are the benefits of the technique?

The Pomodoro technique helps to keep distractions, interruptions and multitasking out of your process and increases productivity. It has positive effects on your everyday work in many ways, such as the following ones:

More self-discipline 💪

Those who regularly use the Pomodoro technique train their ability to concentrate and control impulses — the best precondition for working productively.

Better results ⭐️

The probility of finding innovative or good solutions increases if we concentrate on one thing over a longer period of time.

Longer performance curve 📈

Balancing phases of concentration and relaxation keeps our mental performance on a high level. The brain can recover and this enables you to work productively for many hours at a time.

More free time 🕓

Since productivity increases by working only on a single task at the same time, you might finished to-do’s earlier and enjoy more free time. It probably also gives you space for yourself as you gain additional time for other tasks.

Objective evaluation 🔍

By noting the number of completed pomodori per working day, you get a good overview of your productivity. Depending on how detailed you keep the statistics, you also gain insight into activities that are easy for you to handle and into circumstances that increase or hinder our productivity.

Twist it as you need it

You can also adapt the Pomodoro technique to your own needs. As mentioned in the introduction, I’ve heard of the technique from my colleague Dominik Berger. He extended the duration of one Pomodoro to 50 minutes, followed by a 10-minute break. Twist the length and the amount as you need them. Try it out and see the initial idea of the technique as a recommendation — use it how it supports your own workflow the best way!

Further reading

Experience designer, aspiring content strategist, humanist, world citizen, traveller, mountain hiker, Cuba Libre aficionado, fairness advocate. www.ejochum

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