Although we all have 24 hours in every day we live, some of us can produce mind-boggling results with our careers, relationships, and lives in general. On the other hand, the vast majority find it difficult to cross the line that separates the poor from the average.
Experts agree that it all boils down to the proper time management eventually. And while there is nothing more important than managing our time effectively, most of us struggle with time management every day.
So how does the Pomodoro technique work, and how can it help you manage your time better? We dive into all these details in the piece below.
What is the Pomodoro Technique for Time Management?
If your time management skills need some polishing, Pomodoro could be one of your best bets. It has a high success rate, but it is also fairly easy to follow. If millions of successful people around the world are to be believed, the simple Pomodoro technique promises excellent results time and again.
Your will to improve your time management skills and a regular kitchen timer is all you need to put the Pomodoro in action. But do not let the simplicity of the technique fool you. It is far more effective than it seems.
Did You Know That the Pomodoro Technique Also Called the Tomato Timer Technique?
In the 1980s, Francesco Grillo came up with the idea of using the Pomodoro method to help people manage their time better. Pomodoro is the Italian word for tomato. Now you may wonder how the tomato relates to time management. The correlation comes from tomato kitchen timers used back then for time interval tracking in the kitchen. While the timers have changed since then, the name for the technique has stuck around.
The power of this technique lies in its capacity to help you optimize your time utilization by flowing through the process instead of going against it. No matter your perception of ideal productivity, the technique will let you get a little closer to your goals each time.
Is It Right for You?
The technique does not need any complicated psychoanalysis or mental tests to check its future efficacy on you. The only prerequisite for using the Pomodoro technique is your intention to improve. If you are serious about making tangible progress in your life, time management is the first step.
And when it comes to time management, there is nothing better than the good old tomato method. If you are someone who:
- Gets easily distracted throughout the day, even while working on important projects
- Need to work on open-ended projects like a doctoral thesis, preparation for an exam, and blogging
- Find it difficult to meet timelines
- Tend to overwork as the deadline gets nearer, but fail to optimize productivity earlier
Tips to Make Pomodoro Work for You
If the above resonates with you, and you need to master time management, then Pomodoro could help you get back on that horse quicker than you think. Here are the steps you need to follow to make the most out of your time.
Pick Your Task
It is better to start with singular tasks before you start putting the technique into action for all your activities. It does not matter how large or small the task is. The important thing is to narrow it down. You can pick from a one-time activity or an ongoing set of projects tasks.
Prioritize Your Time
It has been observed that 25 minutes is the ideal time duration for a focused session on task accomplishment, which is why each Pomodoro session is divided into the same duration.
Limit Your Distractions
Set the alarm for 25 minutes, forget about it, and start working on the task you picked in the first step. You should not be swayed even by the desire to look at the time until the alarm goes off.
A helpful tip is to silence your phone or mute all notifications, so you are not tempted to respond to calls or texts. The key is to work consistently for these 25 minutes with complete dedication.
Quantify Your Session
While you may be pleasantly surprised with your productivity in this short duration, you can quickly lose progress if you do not track it. A critical analysis of your session would also help you develop faster and better, which is why it is vital to record your session.
Do this by noting what you intended to achieve through this session and what you accomplished.
Break it Off
The secret to success with Pomodoro is keeping it fresh. It is like a high-intensity workout for the brain, and to get your juices flowing again, you've got to relax.
This is why a short break of 3-5 minutes would benefit you more than anything else at this point. Many high-performance athletes, entrepreneurs, and businessmen swear by the power of these short bursts of intensive work.
Do not extend your break and start another round of Pomodoro. Repeat this process for 3-4 rounds before you can take a 30-minute-long break.
Every four rounds of Pomodoro allow you to take longer breaks ranging from 30 to 40 minutes, but no more.
Things to Remember
As with many other strategies and tactics for self-improvement, there are rules to this game. Unless you take these seriously, the sessions would not be as fruitful as they should, and you would soon give up on the endeavor altogether.
For tasks that need a couple of Pomodoro sessions, you do not need to waste time dividing them into actionable steps. However, complex activities that can take longer to finish should be broken down into step-by-step tasks that eventually lead to the end goal.
You can then target these tasks or their sub-tasks for each Pomodoro session.
Group Smaller Activities
Assign all the tasks that do not require a full-fledged Pomodoro session by themselves into one session. For instance, writing a to-do list, reading an article, clearing your mailbox for the day, and so on.
Integrity should be the center point of your decision-making process. While you should restrict the chances of external disturbances from your cellphone, computer, or other devices, sometimes unforeseen factors may still break your rhythm.
In these cases, you should take your short break during the disturbance but start all over again.
If you end up completing the task before the timer rings, you are not allowed to take the break earlier. Instead, re-check your work to improve its quality, draw some insights or overdeliver the value of your work with other means before you take the break.
What Makes the Pomodoro Technique So Effective?
Pomodoro as a standalone activity has immense potential to help anyone with better concentration and extraction of optimal productivity from the day. Experts suggest that contrary to popular belief, laziness is not the root cause of procrastination.
The reason behind it is the tendency to fend off negative thought patterns. A complex project or a long-term activity can be scary for most of us. On the other hand, binge-watching your favorite series sends a burst of happy hormones in your brain and bloodstream, making it difficult to turn it off and instead turn to the task at hand.
Pomodoro tackles these deep-seated emotional conflicts at their core and lets you develop healthier habits that work for your betterment in the long run. Give it a diligent shot today and see how your time management — and thus, your life — changes.
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