Demystifying the Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method developedin 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 concentrateon one task exclusively. The theory was developed by Francesco Cirillo and eachinterval is a “Pomodoro”, named after the tomato-shaped timer Cirillo used inuniversity. Despite being conceived decades earlier, the technique has experienceda renaissance recently, with people looking for a way to block out anincreasingly large number of distractions.

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

The Pomodoro Technique consists of the following steps:

·        Define the tasks’ importance and timerequirements

·        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 a15-30-minute break

The goal of the Pomodoro Technique is to improve the brain’sability to focus intensely on a single task for a sustained period. Over time,this improvement in concentration and flow should yieldhigher productivity and work quality, compared to other work patterns andhabits, such as multi-tasking. The frequent breaks keep your mind fresh, whilechanging tasks when the timer sounds prevents you from becoming stagnant andbogged down in one piece of work. One of the foremost tenets is removingdistractions, 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-fiapproach. It is recommended that participants use a low-tech timer rather thana smartphone to ensure that distractions can’t inadvertently encroach. However,this is down to personal preference and there are many phone apps based on thesystem.

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

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