I recently was reminded of the Pomodoro Technique during one of my readings about time management. If you’re down with getting “down to business” when it comes to managing your time and your tasks efficiently, then you can give the Pomodoro Technique a shot. Sometimes, a bit of structure is needed in order to kick-start your “inner timer” and get you going. When it comes to structuring, a timer is that one tiny device you won’t expect to be super helpful in training you to be productive.
The Pomodoro Technique: 25 Minutes NOT Too Late (Get The Song Reference? Hey, I’m Old And I Like It)
Let’s start with an introduction here. The Pomodoro Technique, if you’ve heard of it before (or if you haven’t), was invented by one Francesco Cirillo. He came up with the term during his university days in the 1980s when he used a tomato-shaped timer to track his work efficiency and speed. For those who are having trouble putting two and two together, “Pomodoro” is the Italian translation for “tomato.”
He gathered and concluded that a person can be at his most productive state every 25 minutes. The thought of having to accomplish as much as you can within a limited timeframe allows your brain to push your body to do more work in a shorter span of time. Basically, you’ll be racing against time, if I may use that tide-o‘ cliché.
It’s All In Your Head. Is It?
Some people say that it’s merely psychological. They say that you’re tricking your mind to keep up with a certain pace because of the looming “ring” of your timer. In part, it’s true. After all, everything you and I do have their start in our minds, don’t they? Simple logic right there, though not to undermine those psychological workings behind the idea.
So yes, half of it is psychological. The brain becomes trained to want to finish tasks within a fixed timeframe, as prompted by the timer. It’s quite exhilarating if you try it. There’s a kind of energy than fills you up and lets you go all Roadrunner.
Your head (and ears) will not want to have you get caught by the ring of your timer or phone stopwatch (you can choose a device that suits your preference best) with no tasks checked off of your list. Think of it as 25-minute crunch time, every time.
Maybe some adrenaline will kick in, and you and I won’t be complaining if that happens. Yes, that kick of energy, and that rush, they’ll aid you in finishing work on time and productively.
In between every 25 minute interval are your 5-minute breaks. Actually, they’re much more needed and are much more important than you realize. These mini-breaks don’t only give you a short respite after every work-power down. It acts as your “re-starter.” You get to reset your mind. Breathe and restart your system, to prepare for the upcoming 25 minutes of energized working.
What’s great about setting these small break times is that if you’re able to finish a specific amount of work even before your timer rings, you can use that extra time to add to your 5-minute break. Awesome, right? Thus, this, too, acts as a Reward System. Finish faster and you’ll reward yourself with a longer break.
Of course, it’s needless to say that you can still a lot a lunch break for yourself. You need food to fuel your bodily systems and recharge your brain. After all, nobody can work on an empty stomach.
In fact, you can have one or two more 15 minute breaks in the morning and in the afternoon. Squeeze them in between your schedule if possible. A quick smoke break, coffee break, checking-your-phone break. You can do all that during these periods of the day.
Stay Constant, Stay Consistent
Other than these, stick to the 25-minute working interval as much as you can. In fact, be strict with yourself about it. That way, you’ll slowly be inching yourself towards being disciplined in using work time for work and nothing else. You’ll be disciplining yourself to do as much as you can in shorter spurts of time.
Moreover, efficiency and productivity are in your hands. You wield the power to either be or not be (Referencing both superheroes and Shakespeare. Double-whammy, y’all).
Go full-on with the Pomodoro Technique and watch the sparks fly as you become more and more the productive and efficient you, you want to be!