If you’ve ever wished for more hours in a day, or hoped that time could slow down just a little, you’re familiar with one of the greatest problems in the business world: time management. It’s a basic maths problem – there are an infinite number of tasks for you to complete each day, and only 24 hours to do it all. You feel like you need professional help, and aside from drinking gallons of coffee and staying up for 3-days straight, there’s not a lot you can do about it… right?
Not quite. Thankfully, help is at hand – and it goes by the name of the Pomodoro Technique.
What is the Pomodoro Technique?
The Pomodoro Technique is a time-management system, created by entrepreneur and software developer Francesco Cirillo. The technique draws upon a number of best-practices from the field of software development, and is designed to improve your productivity by combining bursts of intense, focused work, with short periods of rest. It’s proven to be a popular solution to the time-management problems posed by the business world, and the Pomodoro Technique book has been read by over 2 million people.
In case you were wondering, Pomodoro is Italian for tomato – and the technique is so named because of the tomato-shaped kitchen timer Francesco used to develop the technique. This also explains why a quick Google search can turn up a delicious, but sadly irrelevant, tomato-based pasta sauce.
How does it work?
1. Create a ‘To do’ list, and prioritize your tasks. Choose the most urgent task to tackle in your first Pomodoro session.
2. Set your timer for 25 minutes – a period of time now referred to as a Pomodoro – and get to work!
3. When the timer rings, stop working. Make a note of your completed Pomodoro, typically by marking an X somewhere on your paper or computer, and take a 5 minute break.
4. Reset your alarm, and resume working. Repeat the process, alternating 25 minute work sessions with 5 minute breaks.
5. After four Pomodoro, take a longer break, of up to 30 minutes.
6. Repeat this process throughout the day; tackling your ‘To Do’ list in 25 minute bursts of productivity.
How can I use the Pomodoro Technique to boost my productivity?
The regular breaks, bursts of focused productivity and strict time limits employed by Pomodoro are designed to improve your productivity through four main channels:
- Helps you to stay fresh, focused and engaged with your tasks
- Improves your drive to finish a task within the allotted time
- Makes you accountable for your time, and reduces your procrastination
- Allows you to break your tasks up, reducing frustration and stress
If you’re reluctant to fill your office space with novelty vegetable-timers, you can turn to digital Pomodoro software for your time-management fix.
Focus Booster is a free application that combines a simple, elegant design with customizeable time, sound and session settings. Available to download, or simply use in your web browser, Focus Booster is perfect for trying out the technique, and gauging it’s impact on your own work habits.
Thousands of people use this technique to maximize their productivity – and it might be the solution to all your time-management problems. Even if it isn’t, don’t worry! There are lots of other ways to claw back those precious hours.
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