Whether you’re a 9-to-5er who works in an office, a freelancer who uses a co-working space, or a student who studies at home, staying focused can be quite challenging. Raise your hand if you’ve got a friendly office buddy who has perfected the art of approaching your desk just as you’ve entered the flow state of mind. Or maybe you tend to wander down the notification rabbit hole. You know, the one where your phone dings with a DM on Instagram, you open the message and it’s a video of a cat doing cute cat things, so you spend the next 10-20 minutes checking out all the other #cutecats. Perhaps an onslaught of mental to-do lists has brought about a severe case of a worry-monster syndrome.
Don’t fret! There is a solution and it’s called the Pomodoro Technique. We promise you it will help you regain your focus and make an excellent addition to your time management toolbox.
So What Is the Pomodoro Technique?
The Pomodoro Technique is a no-frills, time management system designed by Francesco Cirillo to increase your productivity. “Pomodoro” (that’s the Italian word for tomato) refers to the tomato kitchen timer Cirillo used to develop the technique. It’s based on the idea that we’re our best, most productive selves when we chunk our work into intervals of 25 minutes followed by a five-minute break.
During a 25 minute interval, you’re focusing all your energy on the task at hand without interruption. That means forwarding calls to voicemail, telling your work buddy you’ll catch up with them later, and silencing your notifications for the duration of the interval. No multitasking! Trust us, you won’t miss out on anything! It’s just 25 minutes. What’s the worst that can happen?
How to Use the Pomodoro Technique?
First, a little planning can go a long way. Make a list of the stuff you need to work on. Maybe you’re preparing a presentation, or working on a long-term creative project, or (gasp) writing your thesis. Whatever it is, jot it down.
Next, list the tasks required to complete your project. Put on your thinking cap: how many 25 minute intervals will it take to complete each task? What will you work on today? Write that down. It’s time to get to work.
Set a timer for 25 minutes.
Focus solely on the designated task until the timer rings. Feeling thirsty? Have to use the loo? Wait! Hold off and concentrate on the task at hand. You can do it!
Take a five-minute break. Now is the time to stretch your limbs, refill your coffee, or check your notifications for urgent messages.
Repeat this cycle four more times and then take a 15-minute break.
That’s it! Give the Pomodoro Technique a try for a week and see for yourself how productive you can be. As with any new habit, there is an adjustment period and this new way of working will take some getting used to, but we promise you it’s worth it.
With this simple but powerful tool for distraction-free productivity, you will accomplish more and make the healthy work-life balance a reality.