“The Pomodoro Technique: What, Why and How”

“As our lives get busier and our time gets stretched, most of us are becoming increasingly invested in finding productive time-management techniques. If successful, these can drastically improve our lives, making us more efficient, reducing stress and leaving more time for hobbies – or at least, that’s the idea. The Pomodoro Technique isn’t a recent development, but it stands the test of time, promising to help you work with more focus and creativity. Here’s the What, Why and How – everything you need to know before you give it a trial run. What is the Pomodoro Technique? Created by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s, the Pomodoro Technique aims to break your working day into manageable chunks – 25 minutes of focused work, followed by a 5-minute break. Each 25-minute block is called a ‘pomodoro,’ named after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer that helped Cirillo develop this method. Why does it work? The Pomodoro Technique is great for keeping your mind on task. This is because the 25-minute bursts are optimised for our attention span, which is limited to around 20 minutes. By giving yourself an enforced break after 25 minutes, you’ll stay refreshed and avoid feeling burnt out – and that’s the key to its success.Like all the best productivity methods, the Pomodoro Technique helps to manage time and energy. By now, we know that your level of focus is as important as the amount of hours you dedicate to your work; manage your energy properly and you’ll be more efficient in everything you do.How to put it into practicePutting the Pomodoro Technique into practice is simple enough. Start by getting hold of a timer – it’s best to use a physical timer and not just an app on your phone; the method relies on heightening your focus, and phones are liable to become a distraction. Set the timer for 25 minutes and remember to take a 5-minute break. This is the perfect time to make a drink or move around – getting away from your desk will make the technique even more effective. After you’ve completed the 25-minute ‘pomodoro’ bursts 4 times you can take a 15-20 minute break. Again, going for a walk is a great idea as it’ll help to clear your head ready for the next round. In terms of applying the Pomodoro Technique to your workload, it can be used in two simple ways:Short TasksIf you have a long to-do list of varied tasks, allocate a 25-minute period for each task. This will save you from spending too much time on unnecessary projects, and you’ll notice that your to-do list will clear much faster. Being able to see the timer counting down is a great motivator, as you’ll want to avoid carrying the task into your next ‘pomodoro’ block. Long TasksThe Pomodoro Technique is equally effective for longer and more labour-intensive tasks. By breaking your project into 25-minute bursts you’ll avoid becoming bored or frustrated; this can often happen when tackling large tasks, as we tend to believe that working solidly for hours (resulting in increased stress levels) is the only way to get the job finished. When using Cirillo’s method, tasks are completed even more efficiently and without any negative impact on our health or happiness.Give this productivity technique a try when tackling your to-do list or your next big project. You could also suggest the method to your employees, as it will help to build a much more productive working environment.”