Demystifying the Pomodoro Technique

July 26 2017
Demystifying the Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method developed in the 80s, based on the principle of short, sustained effort. Using a timer, you break your work day into 25-minute intervals, during which you concentrate on one task exclusively. The theory was developed by Francesco Cirillo and each interval is a “Pomodoro”, named after the tomato-shaped timer Cirillo used in university. Despite being conceived decades earlier, the technique has experienced a renaissance recently, with people looking for a way to block out an increasingly large number of distractions.

Its main purpose is to break large tasks into manageable pieces. The methodology posits that even the largest tasks can be completed in a far shorter time span if broken into 25-minute increments of total focus. This means that a large part of the process is the first stage: planning. Deciding how long each task should take and how many pomodoros are required is a key step. You may be delaying a task because it is hard or boring, however, when looked at objectively it may require just one or two pomodoros, which makes the task seems less intimidating. For this reason, many people find it a good technique for getting past procrastination.

The Pomodoro Technique consists of the following steps:

·         Define the tasks’ importance and time requirements

·         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

·         Once you reach four checkmarks, take a 15-30-minute break

The goal of the Pomodoro Technique is to improve the brain’s ability to focus intensely on a single task for a sustained period. Over time, this improvement in concentration and flow should yield higher productivity and work quality, compared to other work patterns and habits, such as multi-tasking. The frequent breaks keep your mind fresh, while changing tasks when the timer sounds prevents you from becoming stagnant and bogged down in one piece of work. One of the foremost tenets is removing distractions, not simply non-work ones such as social media and smart devices, but also interruptions from co-workers and productivity-sapping emails.

A major attraction of the Pomodoro Technique is its lo-fi approach. It is recommended that participants use a low-tech timer rather than a smartphone to ensure that distractions can’t inadvertently encroach. However, this is down to personal preference and there are many phone apps based on the system.

To discover more, visit Cirillo Consulting for further information about the Pomodoro Technique.