This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. (This means that if you make a purchase from the link I will earn a small commission, but it won’t cost you a penny more). Click to read my full disclosure policy.
Would you like to increase productivity in your life? Learning the Pomodoro Technique could help you do that.
When you get to the end of the day, are you pleased with the number of tasks you’ve completed. Or, are you disappointed and wish you could figure out a way to increase your productivity and get more done every day?
What about at the end of the week?
If you’re like me and like most of the people I’ve met, you probably would like to increase productivity in your days.
I struggled with feeling very inefficient and simply unable to get things done for so many years in my life.
But then, many years ago, I began to study about productivity and how to get more things done. I discovered some great tips, ideas and tricks that have served me well through the years.
Perhaps you’re like me and you are trying so hard to increase your productivity. You’ve done Brain Dumps. You’ve created excellent Weekly Action Plans. But, you still aren’t getting as much done as you’d like each week.
There are more things we can do to help us Manage our Time Better. Here’s one of them:
My Favorite Tip
One of my favorite tips is the Pomodoro method. This method has worked well for me for years now. I’ve tweaked it at times and perhaps not followed it exactly for different times in my life.
I still use the Pomodoro technique even though my daily life is now totally different than it was 5 years ago. It is as powerful in helping me get things done now as it was when I first tried it out.
What is the Pomodoro Technique?
In a nutshell, it is a tool that helps you manage your time and your tasks efficiently. In summary, it’s a timer. But, not just a timer – there’s more.
In short, you set a timer, do some work, take a break. You do this 4 times and on the fourth time you take a longer break.
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Well, I promise you. It is.
Who invented the Pomodoro Method?
The Pomodoro method is not new. It was officially created by Francesco Cirillo sometime in the late 80s or early 90s. He named his technique after the tomato timer that he was using. Do you know the one I’m talking about? It would have looked something like this one.
Pomodoro Technique details
- Set a timer for 25 minutes. You can use a kitchen timer or a timer app on your phone or computer. There are a lot of free apps available. I am currently using one called Multi-Timer. It has more extras than I need, but it works well and it’s free on Google Play. If you’d like a special timer, this is a nice and fun one.
- Focus on the task at hand. Do nothing else – just take care of the task or tasks you need to be doing.
- When the timer rings, set it for 5 minutes and take a 5-minute break. Some ideas: go to the restroom, hang out at the water cooler and visit with a co-worker, grab a quick snack, put a load of clothes in the dryer, send a “hello” text to someone you love, etc.
- Set the timer for 25 minutes again. Focus on the task or tasks you need to get done. Don’t get sidetracked. Just keep working on the task(s).
- When the timer rings, take another 5-minute break. Get up from wherever you are (desk, chair, couch, table, etc.) and go do something else.
- Set the timer for 25 minutes again. Again, focus on the task or tasks that you are trying to get done.
- When the timer rings, take another 5-minute break. These breaks are good for you. They let your mind rest for a few minutes before you get back to focusing on the important tasks.
- Once again, set the timer for 25 minutes. Focus on the task at hand.
- This time, when the timer rings, take a 25 minute break.
That explanation looks long and difficult, but it’s not.
The Pomodoro Technique Summarized
You work for 25 minutes with a 5 minute break, 3 times. Then you work another 25 minutes before taking a ½ hour break.
Does the Pomorodo Method really work?
You may be surprised to find out how well the Pomodoro technique works. The goal of this method is to help you increase your focus on the task you are doing.
Using the Pomodoro method does require self-discipline. But, it is well worth the effort that it takes to build this into your daily habits.
What tasks can you use the Pomodoro method for?
Almost any task. It works well for task batching, such as making phone calls or sending emails. It even works for limiting your time on social media or Pinterest.
It also works extremely well for larger projects. If you take a project and break it down into several tasks. You could work on one specific task during the 25-minute sessions, until that task is done. Then you can move on to the next task.
An Additional Benefit
An additional benefit to learning to use the Pomodoro technique is that once you’ve learned to use it, you can easily focus on a task for only 25 minutes (or even less).
That means when you don’t have an hour or so to get something done, your brain is already trained on focusing on the task for a shorter period of time and getting as much done as possible, before you have to do something else (go to a meeting, eat lunch, clean the house, etc.).
Use a Reward System
You can even use it as a reward system. What if you work through 1 set of Pomodoros and then you reward yourself with the time to do something you’ve been wanting to do. Afterall, you may have completed the tasks in less time than it would normally have taken, so you have a little free time on your hand.
The reward could be anything you wanted it to be. For example, lunch with a friend, playtime with your child, reading a chapter in a book, taking a walk, etc.
Track Your Time
As you begin using the Pomodoro method, it’s a great idea to track your time. Most of us have specific times during the day when we are most productive. So try the Pomodoro technique at different times of the day so that you can identify which times are best for you.
For example, I am not a morning person. Additionally, I work from home. My husband is home as well. We try to get our non-work tasks (walk the dog, Bible Study, start laundry, fix a meal together, etc.) done in the morning.
Thus, my afternoons are generally much more available for me to work without interruptions. So, I have found that trying to use the Pomodoro method simply doesn’t work for me in the morning. But, in the afternoon, using the Pomodoros work amazingly well.
What Schedule will Work for You?
You may find that a totally different schedule will work for you. Managing our Time can look different for each of us.
Some people use this method once in the morning and again in the afternoon. When I worked in an office setting, that’s what I did.
Just find what time(s) work best for you and do the Pomodoro sessions then.
Tweaking the Pomodoro Technique
As I mentioned earlier, I have tweaked the method a bit through the years. Now, I only do 3 sets of 25 minutes and then I take a ½ hour break. Then I’ll do a second set. That means I’m only using 3 1/2 hours a day with the Pomodoro. But, I’m doing them in the early afternoon which is the best time for me to focus on work tasks.
The rest of my work is not done with the Pomodoro method, but using it to focus on the most important tasks, during the most productive part of my day, has proven very helpful to me.
The Pomodoro Method can help you be focused and efficient in getting many of your tasks completed in a timely manner.
You might want to change the amount of time in each Pomodoro from 25 minutes to 15 or maybe to 40. Or, perhaps you need longer breaks.
I would suggest trying the “official” Pomodoro method first and then tweak it in whatever manner will work best for you.
Questions to Consider for Reviewing the Pomodoro Technique
- Did you accomplish your goals for the day?
- What time of day were you most productive?
- What time of day were you least productive?
- Did the work session time of 25 minutes each work well for you?
- Did the short 5-minute breaks work for you?
- Was the longer 30-minute break long enough?
Want to know more about Pomodoro?
I’ve tried to provide you with a detailed post about Pomodoro, but if you are interested in knowing a bit more, this is the book written by the Pomodoro creator himself.
Or check out this visual on Mr. Cirillo’s site.
Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about the Pomodoro technique.
What Method is working for you?
Have you tried the Pomodoro Technique? Or, do you use a different method that you find helpful? Please be sure to comment below. I love to hear about other time management methods that help people be more productive.