Francesco Cirillo, a student at the time, developed the Pomodoro Technique in the late 1980s. Cirillo had a hard time focusing on his schoolwork and getting it done. As he was feeling overwhelmed, he set a goal to study for only 10 minutes straight. The Pomodoro technique was developed when he was inspired by the challenge and discovered an Italian kitchen timer in the shape of a tomato (Pomodoro).
Despite the fact that Cirillo later wrote a 130-page book about the technique, its simplicity is its greatest asset:
- Obtain a timer and a list of tasks.
- Set a timer for 25 minutes, and until the alarm goes off, concentrate only on that one thing.
- Mark off one Pomodoro when your session is over, and then note what you accomplished.
- After that, take a five-minute pause.
- Take a lengthier, more restorative pause of 15 to 30 minutes after four pomodoros.
The method’s main components are the 25-minute work sprints, but a Pomodoro practice also contains three guidelines for making the most of each interval:
Here are guidelines
- Deconstruct challenging projects. Work needs to be broken down into smaller, manageable pieces if it takes more than four pomodoros to complete. Following this guideline will help to ensure that your initiatives go forward clearly.
- Smaller jobs are connected. Tasks that can be completed in less than one Pomodoro period should be combined with others of similar complexity. For instance, you may pay your rent, book your pet’s appointment, and read an article about the Pomodoro technique all in the same sitting.
- A Pomodoro must ring once it is started. The Pomodoro is a time block that cannot be divided, notably not to check text messages, inbound emails, or team conversations. Any suggestions, actions, or requests should be noted for subsequent consideration. Pen and paper will work just as well for them as a computerized task manager like Todoist.
Take a five-minute break and try again if you experience an interruption. The best way to avoid distractions in the future, as recommended by Cirillo, is to keep track of them as they occur.
Even if you complete the assigned task prior to the timer going off, the rule still holds true. Use the rest of your time wisely by expanding your knowledge beyond what’s strictly necessary or by honing your skills and knowledge. For instance, you may study up on professional publications or look into networking opportunities using the extra time.
Why is Pomodoro so successful?
The Pomodoro Technique is very efficient in assisting people in getting things done, despite the arbitrary stupidity of using tomato as a proxy for units of time. What makes the technique very effective in increasing productivity is as follows:
- Allowing one to quickly and easily begin
- Combating distractions
- Developing a keener sense of time management
- Gamifying your productivity
1. Making it easy to just get started
According to research, procrastination has little to do with indolence or a lack of restraint. Instead, we put things off to avoid feeling bad. A major assignment or project that you might not even know how to complete or that entails a lot of uncertainty makes you uncomfortable. Instead, we use Twitter or Netflix to improve our attitude, if only momentarily.
Fortunately, research has also revealed a powerful strategy for ending the pattern of avoidance: reduce the task you’re putting off to a manageable initial step. For instance, sit down to write for 5 minutes rather than starting a novel. Still too demanding? Just take a seat and alter a paragraph. It is far simpler to deal with doing something modest for a brief period of time than attempting to take on a large endeavor all at once.
The Pomodoro approach specifically pushes you to break down your large chores, projects, or ambitions into something you can finish in the next 25 minutes. This is a procrastination-busting tool. It prevents you from becoming overwhelmed by the scope of what you’re undertaking and keeps you laser-focused on the one thing you need to complete next. Just do it one Pomodoro at a time and don’t stress about the outcome.
2. Combating distractions
It can be challenging to regain attention if you’ve ever been interrupted while working in a flow state. However, the constant barrage of data arriving in the form of emails, group conversations, and social media notifications requires more and more of our attention.
While it would be convenient to put the entire responsibility on technology, new studies indicate that more than half of all workplace distractions are self-inflicted, meaning we deliberately pull ourselves away from our tasks. It can be simple to rationalize these internal tugs in the heat of the moment: “This email is too essential to wait,” or “Checking my Twitter took less than a minute; it’s not a true distraction.”
But all those little hiccups add up! It takes time and effort to refocus your attention, in addition to the time you lose to distractions. Our minds can ruminate on the prior job for up to 20 minutes after shifting gears before we can focus fully again. If you give in to the urge to check Facebook “just for a minute,” it can take you 20 minutes to get back on track.
You can stop all of those self-interruptions and retrain your brain to concentrate by using the Pomodoro technique. Every Pomodoro is devoted to a single activity, and each break is an opportunity to refocus on what you should be focusing on.
Developing a keener sense of time management
The planning fallacy is when people grossly underestimate how long future tasks will take, even knowing that similar work has taken longer in the past. In the present, you have an idea of how you’ll behave in the future, but in the future, you will be subject to new limitations.
The Pomodoro method can be an effective tool for combating the planning fallacy. When you begin working in brief, timed periods, time is no longer an ethereal idea but a real-world occurrence. It turns into a Pomodoro, which is a measure of time and effort. In contrast to the standard “work” time of 25 minutes, the Pomodoro is a timer event that measures how intently one works on a single job (or several simple tasks).
Time shifts from being seen as something lost to being seen as a symbol of successfully completed tasks. Because it transforms the experience of time moving from an impersonal source of concern to a precise indicator of work, Cirillo refers to this as “inverting time.” As a result, time estimations become substantially more accurate.
3. Gamifying your productivity
Every Pomodoro offers a chance to get better than the previous one. One Pomodoro at a time, says Cirillo, “attention and consciousness lead to speed.”
Because consistency rather than perfection is the focus of the Pomodoro technique, it is attainable. Every session is a new opportunity to reassess your objectives, test your ability to concentrate and reduce distractions. A system is a tool that can be used to one’s advantage.
Set a target to increase your Pomodoro’s by one each day to encourage yourself to build on your success. Try to complete a significant task in a predetermined number of Pomodoro. Set a target for how many Pomodoro’s you want to complete each day without breaking the chain. Tomatoes are more fun to think about than for hours.