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Why your time management best buddy is a tomato

The Pomodoro Technique: What it is and why you need it

 

Does your day look something like this?:
• Morning: Look at to-do list. Feel overwhelmed. Pick pathetically at a task then give up.
• Afternoon: Where’d it go?
• Evening: Guilt, remorse, self-loathing; all the bad feels. Because you got nothing done. But tomorrow will be different. But it never is.

Don’t be down on yourself. You’re not alone. But, hey, wouldn’t it be nice to trust yourself to get stuff done?

Here’s something that might help you, and it involves tomatoes. Sort of.

Tomato Time
The Pomodoro Technique is a way of managing time (well, it’s actually a way of managing your tasks and your energy using time, but let’s not go there right now). It’s a special productivity method designed by entrepreneur and software developer Francesco Cirillo. His technique encourages you to focus on your tasks for small chunks of time followed by chunks of rest. He named the technique after his tomato-shaped kitchen timer which he used to time his work intervals. You’ve worked out that pomodoro is Italian for tomato, right?

Getting started in just 3 steps

Ready, get set, go!

1. Make a list
At the very start of your day (or the evening before, if you want to be super-prepared), make a list of everything you need to accomplish. Try to write it down in order of urgency or importance, but don’t fret if you just splurge it all down. You can always number the tasks in the order you want to tackle them after you write them down. Yep, that’s prioritizing and you didn’t feel a thing. Don’t try to keep your tasks in your head — that just takes up brain bandwidth and you’ll never remember everything.

2. Set a timer
Set a timer for 25 minutes. This is how long you’ll work on your first task. Don’t get sidetracked or interrupted. It is long enough where you can really accomplish something without getting burned out.

3. Take a break
Take a break of about five minutes after your first session and then when that’s over, it’s straight back to another 25 minute work session followed by another 5 minute break. You get the picture. For your short breaks, if you’re working on a computer give your eyes a break, and do some stretches, get a coffee or have a snack. Every fourth work session, reward yourself with a longer break of 20–30 minutes.

In numbers, it looks like this:
• Work 25
• Break 5
• Work 25
• Break 5
• Work 25
• Break 5
• Work 25
• Break 20–30
Then rinse and repeat! You’ll get loads done.

Pro-Tips

Trying to get in the pomodoro habit can be tough, but this will help:

1. Be consistent: If possible, do your pomodoros at the same time every day. It will help bed in a routine that will be harder to break over time. Aim for times of the day when people won’t be around to distract you.

2. Share the love: Try group pomodoro time for families and roomies.25 minutes on the clock, let’s go, people! Homework, tidying, assignments, go, go, go!

3. Take advantage of technology: You don’t need to use a tomato timer (but, hey, retro is in right now) when you’ve all the timers you need on your phone. And there are loads of to-do lists and pomodoro apps out there (hint — ours is pretty cool. End of sales pitch).

4. Find peace and quiet: Avoiding interruptions is easier said than done. Try to find a place to be productive that really optimizes your focus. A library, coffee shop or office can be places to try out. If space is limited, any clean kitchen table or counter will do. Avoid working in bed because zzzzzzz.

Try the Pomodoro Technique now. We dare you. Let us know if it works for you. If not, why not? We wanna know.

 

Read this in Spanish

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