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Did you know that when you’re multitasking you’re actually getting less work done, not more? And not only that, but the quality of work drops as well too. Our brains were not meant to multi-task.
If you’re like me, you’re a multitasker. 15 computer tabs open and 7 unfinished projects later and somehow the whole day has gone by, yet not one thing is checked off your to-do list. I get it.
The solution to the problem is the Pomodoro Technique. And… Tomatoes? Yes, really.
WHAT IS THE POMODORO TECHNIQUE?
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management strategy created by a man named Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. He, just like many of us, struggled to focus on his studies. So, he committed himself to study for just a short period of time.
Francesco came up with the name “Pomodoro Technique” because he used a tomato-shaped timer to keep track of time as he studied in college. And “Pomodoro” is the Italian word for tomato.
HOW DOES THE POMODORO TECHNIQUE WORK?
1. PICK AN ITEM OFF OF YOUR TO-DO LIST
Before you start this method, you should have already made an organized to-do list that lists out tasks from least to most important, so you know where to start.
I like to use a to-do list organizer, like this app called Trello. But, nothing beats a physical planner! If you’re looking for a new planner, I recommend checking out this planner and this desk calendar!
Once you have a to-do list laid out, simply pick out the first task of the day.
2. SET A TIMER FOR 25 MINUTES
A timer on your phone will work just fine, but later I’ll be going over a few helpful apps you can use as well! Feel free to set the timer for as long or as short as you want, 25 minutes isn’t really the important part!
3. WORK ON THE TASK FOR THE FULL 25 MINUTES
This is probably the hardest part. It can be hard to avoid distractions when you work from home.
The best way to do this is to silence your phone, get off of Facebook, and close all the unnecessary tabs on your computer. Fully immerse yourself into the task at hand- no distractions!
3. KEEP TRACK OF THE WORK SESSIONS
This is to keep track of how many “Pomodoro sessions” you’ve done so far.
4. TAKE A SHORT BREAK
For example, step away from your desk, have a cup of coffee or meditate. Do whatever it is you need to do to get your mind off the task. Usually, all you’ll need is 5 minutes.
5. REPEAT 4 TIMES, THEN TAKE A LONGER BREAK
After doing 4 more 25 minute Pomodoro sessions, reward yourself with a longer break! 20-30 minutes is recommended.
Be sure to step away from your desk during this break. Do your best to clear your mind of the task you were doing. For example, you could use it as a lunch break just like you would for a normal job!
Once you’ve finished your break, all you have to do is repeat this process as many times as needed to finish all the tasks on your to-do list! Pretty simple right?
If you find yourself struggling to keep track of the times, or you really want to get organized, check out this simple Pomodoro Technique planner I created! It’s handy for organizing your day, writing out your to-do list and it’s designed with this productivity technique in mind! It’s available up on my Etsy shop!
WHY DOES THIS PRODUCTIVITY METHOD WORK?
-SETTING THE TIMER ENCOURAGES YOU TO STAY FOCUSED
When you are working with this productivity method, you are working with more intention. You sit down, make a list of the important tasks you need to do, choose one and set a timer. You know exactly what you need to be working on, and for how long!
Plus, you have your to-do list ready so you know what you’ll be working on next. There is no need to rush to the next task because you just remembered this really important thing you have to do and you’re worried you won’t get time for it! You know you have time, it’s on your list.
While some people might find the“racing against the clock” to be stressful, remind yourself that you can always reset the clock after a 5-minute break if you don’t finish the task. That’s the best part of the Pomodoro Technique.
If you don’t finish your task when the timer is up, send that task to the bottom of the list and move on! You’ll still have time to finish it later!
-WORKING WITH A FOCUS INCREASES PRODUCTIVITY
Working with a focus for a short period of time and then getting up, walking away and coming back to your desk with a fresh mind really helps with productivity.
It’s not really that uncommon nowadays that we sit at our desk for hours on end, so swamped in work that we don’t move enough to even itch our nose
We get so into the hustle and bustle that we forget how much time has passed!
With the Pomodoro Technique, your breaks are short and scheduled into your workday!
-HELPS WITH TIME MANAGEMENT
You can better manage your time under this productivity method because it forces you to be conscious of the time that passes! Therefore, making you work harder on the tasks to get them done within your allotted time.
There won’t be the urge to check your email, Facebook or the text message that you just heard come in. You have a task to finish, and a clock to beat! It seems funny that in order for us to be conscious that time is passing, we have to physically set a timer, doesn’t it?
-BREAKS KEEP YOUR MIND FOCUSED
It can be hard when you are working so heavily on a project to remember to take breaks throughout to let your mind rest. So, setting a timer as a reminder can be a great way to ensure that you don’t burn yourself out in one sitting. This way, you can stay productive the whole day through (And you’ll remember to eat)!
WHAT TO DO DURING A POMODORO BREAK?
You use the breaks as a re-charge to ensure that you’ll stay motivated and refreshed throughout the day.
Use the short breaks to clear your mind. For example, try closing your eyes, taking a deep breath and meditating. On the other hand, you could refill your drink, grab a small snack or anything else that you can fit into a small 5-ish minute break.
Then of course, throughout your longer 20-30 minute break you can go for lunch (away from your desk) and really clear your head.
After your break, you’ll come back feeling motivated, excited to get back to work and you might even have come up with something while you were away! Perhaps something you might not have come up with if you’d just stayed and kept working without a break!
WHAT ARE THE BEST APPS TO KEEP TRACK OF TIME?
There are plenty of ways you can keep track of time. You can go with an old egg timer.
Or, as I mentioned before, you could use your phone timer. There are other apps specifically set up for the Pomodoro Method;
These apps are great for keeping track of time, or you could just buy yourself a regular old egg timer just like the original (shown above)!
The Pomodoro Technique is a really great productivity method and can help you focus and get more work done. And as an entrepreneur, every second count!
If these time management apps don’t work for you, don’t forget to check out my Pomodoro Technique planner I created!
KEEP READING: The Ultimate Setup of a Productive Office Space