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Weekly Course on Time Management – Week 10 – Theories of Time Management – The Pômdoro Technique
Do the smallest distractions derail your whole workday?
Do you constantly work past the point of optimal productivity?
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If you nodded your head in agreement with the above-listed questions, then I have the ideal time management theory that you can apply to your life and get things done! Using the Pomodoro Technique can help you complete tasks you have been putting off for a long time.
What is the Pomodoro Technique?
The Pomodoro Technique was developed in the late 1980s by Francesco Cirillo, a then university student who was struggling to concentrate on his studies and assignments. After feeling quite overwhelmed by the burden of calming his mind, he finally decided on committing to 10 minutes of completely focused study time. Motivated by the challenge, Cirillo came across a tomato-shaped kitchen timer, which eventually resulted in the birth of The Pomodoro Technique. The title of this technique is inspired by the tomato, with its Italian word being “Pomodoro.”
Even though Francesco wrote a 130-page book on the method, the beauty of this time management theory lies in its simplicity.
Here’s what you need to do to implement this theory in your daily life:
- List down tasks you need to accomplish and keep them beside a timer.
- Set the timer for 25 minutes, and place all your focus on completing a single task until the timer goes off.
- Just as the bell rings, mark off one Pomodoro and tick off the task you completed from your to-do list.
- Treat yourself to a 5-minute break before you move onto the next task.
- Make sure to take a longer and restorative 15-30 minute break once you’ve ticked off four Pomodoros.
Rules for Making the Most Out of the Pomodoro Technique
While the 25-minute work sprints lie at the core of this method, the Pomodoro technique comprises three focal rules to make the most out of each interval.
Break Down Complex Projects
If a task is lengthy, i.e., it involves more than four Pomodoros, it must be divided into smaller and easier tasks. You can make clear progress on your projects by sticking to this rule and accomplishing smaller tasks that amount up to one big tick off your to-do list.
Small Tasks Go Together
Tasks requiring less time, i.e., less than one Pomodoro, must be done along with other simple and easy-to-do tasks. For instance, making a phone call, setting up an appointment, or writing a check can easily fit in one Pomodoro.
Once a Pomodoro is Set, It’s Set
Think of a Pomodoro as an indivisible unit of time that can’t be broken. Once the timer is set, you cannot break the Pomodoro for any other tasks. Whether it’s to check emails, text messages, or use social media, you can’t break your Pomodoro until the timer starts ringing. In cases where there is unavoidable disruption, you can take a 5-minute break and start again.
Cirillo recommends that you keep tabs on your interruptions and remember them so that you can avoid them in your next session.
What Makes the Pomodoro Technique Effective for Time Management?
Using tomato as a stand-in for units of time leads many people to disregard the legitimacy and great time management benefits that this technique brings.
Here are a few reasons that make the Pomodoro Technique one of the most effective time management theories.
It Makes It Easier To Get Started
Do you know what the most difficult part of accomplishing a task is? Starting it! We often ignore the tasks at hand and procrastinate until we can’t put off the tasks any further. The reason we’re scared to start a big project is because of the fear of uncertainty. The Pomodoro Technique is truly a procrastination-busting strategy as it makes you break down your big projects into smaller tasks that you only have to do for 25 minutes, ensuring that you remain hyper-focused instead of getting overwhelmed.
It Helps Combat Distractions
If you’ve ever been interrupted in the middle of a task, you probably know how difficult it is to regain focus and get into the flow again. With so many distractions around (thanks to technology), half of our distractions are self-inflicted; we pull ourselves out of focus. The problem is that these small interruptions accumulate, and BAM! You’ve wasted half your day doing things you can’t even remember. The Pomodoro Technique keeps you from self-interruptions and re-trains your brain to focus.
It Makes You More Aware of Where Your Time Goes
The planning fallacy – a pit most of us easily fall into when planning future projects. This concept is based on our tendency to underestimate the time required to complete future tasks, knowing that similar tasks have taken longer in the past. The Pomodoro Technique helps by dividing major tasks into small, achievable chunks that are to be done in timed sessions.
The Bottom Line
Using the Pomodoro Technique gives you a unique and clear measurement of your finite time, allowing you to plan your days more effectively and efficiently. Incorporating this concept into your daily life can be a great way to get things done on time.