If you have an extensive to-do list, you might feel overwhelmed about checking off all the tasks. Or even worse, knowing which task to start. Do you know how long a specific task will take? If not, ask yourself if the tasks can be completed quickly. For those who break down their duties effectively, they might use something such as the Pomodoro study technique. This technique is a well-known method for people looking to increase their productivity.
Pomodoro study technique
The Pomodoro technique is a time management strategy to work on tasks better. It was created by a man named Francesco Cirillo, who struggled with time management back in his college years. Since coming up with the technique, it has helped him personally with improving his time management. It’s a technique widely used by people around the world, and an efficient method for working on small or large tasks.
In this post, I will go over some basic facts of the technique, along with my experience trying out the method myself. The following points include:
1.) Origins of the Pomodoro technique
2.) Tools needed for the technique
3.) Types of distractions
4.) My experience and thoughts
Pomodoro study technique:
The term Pomodoro refers to a tomato-size timer that helps keep track of the tasks you work on. To apply this technique, follow the steps below:
- Assign yourself a task: Set aside 25-minutes to work on that particular task
- At the end of the 25 minutes, take a five-minute break
- Repeat 25 minutes of assignments followed by five minute breaks three more times
- After repeating four Pomodoro (around 100 minutes of work), take a more extended break between 15-30 minutes
Stick to time blocks & breaks
In his book on the technique, Cirillo stresses it should always be 25-minutes long. In other words, no half periods or 80% of the time worked on a task. If you get distracted from your work, you then have to start over again with 25-minutes of action. If you happen to finish a task before the 25-minutes is over, find something else to do. Ask yourself what you can do in the next five-ten minutes to spare? It helps to get something else done sooner than later.
Tools for the Pomodoro technique
There are two things needed to make the Pomodoro technique useful, which include the following:
Although Cirillo sticks to a tomato-size timer, it doesn’t have to be in a tomato-size. You can use an alarm clock, your smartphone, or a stopwatch if you find that to be helpful. As long as you set time limits (25-minutes), you should be fine. I used my iPhone and a couple of timer apps on my laptop, which worked fine for me.
B. Two types of to-do lists
I. To-Do Today
This list includes the tasks you intend to take on today; in other words, your priorities to take care of now. Once you set those tasks aside, determine how much time it’ll take to complete those tasks. For example, will a particular task take three Pomodori (75-minutes), or one Pomodoro (25-minutes)?
This list may include tasks you intend to take on at some point down the road. If you can’t complete some of them today, then jot some notes down to determine how long it will take you to complete the tasks. For instance, if you’re working on a report that may take a couple of days to complete, divide it up into smaller periods each day.
Types of distractions that may come up
When applying the Pomodoro technique, distractions will inevitably come up. Although you should try to ignore them if possible, there are two kinds of distractions to keep in mind:
I. Internal distractions
These distractions can range from random thoughts in your mind and shopping online. They can easily distract you and take away 20-30 minutes of your time. If you struggle to check social media or other distracting sites, you realize later on that you lost out on valuable time.
II. External distractions
These distractions tend to be out of your control sometimes. Such disturbances include people interrupting you, email notifications of your computer, or announcements going off on your phone.
My experience with the Pomodoro technique
I’ve tried the Pomodoro technique on multiple occasions. It took time to get used to, as I was interrupted my second time trying it. But I found myself getting more tasks done than I did before. Some days, I would dedicate on one-two tasks to work on, and take my time to complete them. I realize that I needed to complete the tasks sooner than I thought. So trying out the technique drastically improved my time management skills. In the past couple of months, it’s given me a significant productivity boost.
Overall, the Pomodoro technique has helped people improve their time management skills. When faced with challenging tasks, this technique can help break down those tasks. Cirillo can’t stress enough the importance of sticking to the time limits. When starting, attach to the 25-minute time frame, followed by a five-minute break. As I mentioned earlier, it took a while for me to get used to the shorter time frames. But after trying it out for a week, it got easier to complete the tasks with ease.
If you would like more information, feel free to check out Cirillo’s website for in-depth training on the Pomodoro technique.
Have you tried out the Pomodoro technique?
If so, please share your experience by leaving a comment below. Also, please share the post with others.