Updated: Aug 8, 2019
If you are you looking for an efficient time management technique that will help you to achieve more consistently, you should read this article on the Pomodoro method. Pomorodo is a free time management technique, which is very easy to implement. Using it will have an immediate positive impact on your productivity.
First, I would like to bring to your attention 2 important limitations, which have strong impact on your productivity:
Limitation 1: Multi-tasking does not work: Our tendency to divide our attention is hampering our ability to reach our objectives. We believe we are effective at multitasking when in reality we are good at "task-switching" which invariably lead to loss of productivity up to 40% (2001 Rubinstein JS, Meyer DE, Evans JE.),
To do 2 things at once is to do neither. Publius Syrus
Limitation 2: The Work expands to fill the time available for its completion. This is the Parkinson ’s Law. This means that the more time you “give” a project, the longer you will take to complete it. You have a deadline a week from now. Odds are very high that you will take the full week to do it even if it could have been completed before.
An effective way to combat these limitations is to build strict deadlines and to have a ticking clock in the background as you work on each task.
The Pomodoro time management technique is the perfect solution to reach this objective.
The Pomodoro technique takes it origin in Italy. Invented by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s, its name comes from the tomato-shaped timer he used to track his work as a university student.
Pomodoro literally means tomato in Italian.
Pomodoro is a cyclical system. You work in short 25 minutes sprints called Pomodoro and you take regular breaks that boost your motivation and keep you creative. Since the sessions are relatively short, it creates a sense of urgency.
Rather than feeling you have endless time to get things done and then waste precious hours on distractions, you know you only have 25 minutes to make as much progress on a task as possible.
There are 6 steps in the original technique:
Plan: Take time to plan your day. What tasks will you work on and how many sessions do they require? List your expected Pomodoro for that day on a piece of paper
Focus: Shut down emails and telephone notifications, put your telephone on voice mail and set the Pomodoro timer. If you don’t have a clock on hand, there are plenty of websites that can help (https://www.tomatotimers.com is one of them),
Set the timer,
Work on the task: Pause only when necessary,
When the timer rings, End the work, put a check mark on the list you have created on step 1 and make a short 5 min break,
Repeat: A round of Pomodoro is usually 4 sessions After 4 Pomodoro, take a longer break (15–30 minutes), reset your check mark count to zero, then start a new series
My feedback after 1 year of regular practice:
The method is very easy to implement. You just need a piece of paper and a timer,
We are all-human and our phone is like a magnet attracting our eyes. I recommend turning off all sort of notifications and put your phone in a drawer.
I felt I had a tendency to prioritize the more fun Pomodoro when I was starting my day so as recommended by Brian Tracy in his great book Eat that Frog, I made the habit to start by the less attractive tasks.
The Pomodoro routine is efficient but quickly become a bit depressing. We are not robot after all. I personally only complete series of 2 or 3 to work on specific tasks requiring deeper concentration.
Staying focus on a Pomodoro may be difficult when you work in an open space (people coming at your desk to ask you questions, internal messenger system popping up). I personally mitigated this by organizing my Pomodoro in the morning when things are quieter at the office.