Posted on 2017-08-19 19:34:21
Developed in the 80s, The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method based on the principle of sustained micro-efforts. Its main purpose is to deconstruct large tasks into manageable pieces and promote prolonged concentration. Despite being conceived decades ago, the technique has experienced a resurgence recently, with more people looking for ways to block out everyday distractions.
The methodology surmises that even the largest tasks can be completed in a far shorter time span if broken into small increments of complete focus. Using a timer, you split your work day into 25-minute intervals, during which you concentrate exclusively on one task.
The first, and most important, part of the process is the planning stage. Decide how long each task will take and how many ‘pomodoros’ are required to complete each task. For example, writing and returning a specific email may require its own ‘pomodoro’, or checking and responding to all your emails may fit in a single pomodoro. Designing a website may be split into five or six pomodoros, each representing a different aspect of the larger task.
The Pomodoro Technique consists of the following steps:
- Set the timer
- Work on the first task until the timer sounds
- Put a checkmark on a piece of paper
- Take a 3-5-minute break then start the next pomodoro
- Once you reach four checkmarks, take a 15-30-minute break
The Pomodoro Technique is designed to improve the brain’s ability to focus intensely on a single task for a period of time, without losing concentration. When this technique is used over a sustained period of time, it is shown to improve in concentration and focus, yielding higher productivity rates when compared to other work patterns and habits, such as multi-tasking.
A key element is removing distractions. These can come in many forms, from non-work ones such as social media and smart devices, to interruptions from co-workers and productivity-killing emails. People may find it difficult to put these distractions aside initially, but once you’ve stuck at it, you will start to see results.
A major part of the Pomodoro Technique is its lo-fi approach. Participants are encouraged to use a low-tech timer rather than the timer on their phone, to ensure that distractions can’t inadvertently encroach. This is all down to personal preference however, and there are many phone apps based on the method.