A Love Note To The Pomodoro (Productivity) Technique
I identify myself as a planner, I have all these great (exciting) ideas but not always the confidence and gumption to just get stuck into the ‘doing‘ part of the process. Adding that elusive productivity into my day, especially after my 9-5 work shift can be a real uphill challenge - even harder knowing it’s for yourself and a potential side-hustle that may or may not see fruition. That being said this year I’ve not only discovered but fell in love with a concept called the Pomodoro technique. It’s an idea that puts you in a more focused frame of mind and somehow putting that time into your project, whatever it may be even to give you the time for your creative endeavors. Here’s my take of the Pomodoro technique, why I love it and how it’s helped inch me forward in my goals and to - do lists.
Do you use the Pomodoro technique ??
What productivity tips do you swear by ??
The Pomodoro Technique
This is actually a type of time management system put forward by Francesco Cirillo during the later 1980s. The basics include using a timer to break down your work tasks into smaller intervals, which traditionally are 25 minutes in length with a mini break in between. A note for this is that each interval is known as a ‘pomodoro‘ - the italian word for tomato, apparently taking it’s namesake from the tomato-shaped kitchen timer that Cirillo used as a university student.
General Pomodoro Guidelines :
#01 || Decide on the task to be completed or worked on
#02 || Set your timer to 25 minutes
#03 || Work on that task and no other
#04 || When the timer rings make sure you come to a natural stopping point and use some kind of bookmark to note your place making sure you can come back to it later. (Cirillo calls these Checkmarks)
#05 || If you have less than 4 checkmarks then take a short break (3 - 5 minutes) - then repeat from step 2. After 4 Pomodoro checkmarks it’s time to take a longer break (15 - 30 minutes), if the task has been completed start the whole process again if not then it’s back to step 2.
In itself this is an amazing technique that can be used in any situation and is brilliant at keeping you on track, if you let it. As I predominately use this method for at home for my own personal goals, creativity and daily tasks the traditional method can feel a little constrictive at times especially towards the latter stages. The beauty of doing your own thing is that you can tweak things to suit your needs and my own Pomodoro process looks slightly different :
#01 || Create a manageable to-do list, in some cases it can be helpful to break these tasks up into their most basic parts. I tend to pick a ‘doable’ task to start that greases the wheels.
#02 || Set your timer anywhere from 20 - 45 minutes
#03 || Work on your chosen task
#04 || When timer rings create a natural stopping point
#05 || Take a break, tick off task if completed and get away from the task completely. During this break really listen and assess how you feel i.e. there’s no point trying to force a task that isn’t right for the day. Sometimes you know you can handle a shorter or longer Pomodoro interval. Sometimes it’s time to switch things up with another task on your to-do list.
#06 || Go back to the beginning
The Pomodoro ‘Effect‘
The point of the Pomodoro technique is to celebrate the to-do list, build effective time management skills, establish confidence and a sense of achievement through seeing the completion of tasks. What I like about this technique is that is does put a spotlight on productivity and seeing your completed work, giving you the boost needed to carry on.
My Essentials For Pomodoro-ing
Everyone has their own comforts when getting into that productive mindset and I’m slowly developing a system that works, so here are my current necessities for a day or even a couple of hours Pomodoro-ing :
#01 || Easy listening music on low - the Spotify app has become my new buddy but sometimes the Calm app can help.
#02 || Forest app - a timer could be as low or high tech as you wish but for now I’m using Forest because it’s simple and it helps you build a little digital forest every time you complete your interval without using your phone.
#03 || A break alternative, I find getting away from your task (and usually laptop) can be really beneficial to your mood allowing you to hopefully carry on with slightly more clarity.
#04 || Close all unnecessary apps and tabs that have no relation to your chosen task.
#05 || A water-bottle because hydration is cool.
#06 || Dreamy stationery to create your to do / checklist.