Do you tend to fall into the trap of procrastination at work? Do you do a million things but in the end you don’t achieve a lot? Do you often have the impression of wasting your time? Do you hardly achieve the objectives you set yourself?
Is your work day a race against time to respect all your deadlines?
You might even be well aware of the issue and willing to change and become more productive, but you don’t really know how to do this…
Have you heard of the Pomodoro Technique before?
The Origin of the Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique has been invented by Francesco Cirillo in the 80s while he was a University student. He was looking to improve his productivity and his efficiency in order to achieve better results using less time and effort.
The name of this technique (Pomodoro), meaning ‘tomato’ in Italian, comes from the tomato-shaped timer Cirillo used at University.
Today, the Pomodoro Technique is a managing tool recognised and used by millions of people around the world, who want to optimise their working time and reduce stress.
The Principle of this technique
This technique is simple. All you need is a timer (the one on your phone will do the job) and self-discipline. The objective of this technique is breaking down your tasks into “tomatoes” of 25 minutes.
Start by picking from your list the task that you want to work on. During the 25 minutes, you’ll have to focus fully on your task and avoid any distraction or interruption (social media, phone, email, chats with the colleagues, etc.). As soon as the timer goes off, take a short 5-minute break.
After 4 “tomatoes”, give yourself a longer break of 20-30 minutes to rest your brain before diving into a new session of four “tomatoes”.
Using the Pomodoro Technique regularly will make you aware of how many “tomatoes” you need to carry out each task.
Advantages and Disadvantages of this technique
The Pomodoro Technique has multiple advantages:
- It’s really easy to implement – you simply need a timer, self-discipline and motivation;
- You concentrate all your energies on a single task, which is what mostly improves your productivity;
- You avoid multitasking, which is proved to reduce productivity by 40% and badly affect the quality of your work;
- A 25-minute session is relatively short, which motivates you to keep focused for the whole time;
- The short 5-minute breaks are little treats for you to do anything but your work;
- Time becomes your ally and you improve your work-ethics.
Among the disadvantages, we noticed it’s hard to isolate yourself from everything else, especially if you work in an open space. It might also be hard to estimate the necessary time to carry out a task and to respect the 25 minutes without distractions.
The interval of working for 25 minutes and taking a break for 5 might not always suit you. Some people or some tasks may require a longer concertation session or a longer break. If this is the case, feel free to adjust the Pomodoro Technique to your pace of work (e.g. 40 minutes of work followed by a 10-minute break).
How to implement the Pomodoro Technique
Here are the different stages to implement the Pomodoro Technique:
1. Choose the task
Start your day by choosing the task or tasks you want to get done. On this task, you will concentrate all your attention for 25 minutes for as many sessions as you need.
2. Start the timer
Your 25-minute session has started! If you can, try to isolate yourself, close the door of your office, turn off your phone, disactivate all your notifications on your laptop and let your colleagues know. You need to get rid of any distractions that risk affecting your attention.
Concentrate all your energy and motivation in doing that specific task for the next 25 minutes.
3. Take a 5-minute break
After such a mental effort, your brain will need a break to recharge and assimilate the content. You can check your emails or make a phone call, but ideally you should try to think about something other than your work. Stretch yourself, get a coffee, get some fresh air – basically get your mind off things!
Avoid going on Social Network or go online in general, because the break could easily become longer than 5 minutes.
4. Start again
Repeat this 25/5 cycle four different times, then take a long break of 20-30 minutes. Take the opportunity to really switch off, to recharge your batteries and calm your brain. After this break you’ll be a lot more productive and motivated!
At work, procrastination and multitasking slow down our productivity dramatically. It’s been proved that we’re a lot more productive if we only concentrate on one task at a time. Wanting to accomplish different tasks at the same time is not only physically impossible, but also counterproductive.
The Pomodoro Technique forces you to focus on a single task during a specific amount of time. It’s in fact considered an effective technique to tackle these two problems and it’s one of the methods that will help you get work done without making your life impossible!