pomodoro method

The Pomodoro Method

If you’ve recently tried the short-burst productivity technique, you’ve likely come across something called the Pomodoro Method or Technique. But if you’re unfamiliar with the technique, it can be difficult to use it without first gathering more information.

What is the pomodoro method?

First off, what is the Pomodoro Technique? Well, it is a type of short-burst productivity method which many experts swear has changed their lives. Those who use it tend to experience increased time management skills and productivity-all while having more free time to engage in the activities they choose than they did before.

pomodoro method

How to:

  • The Pomodoro Method is done by first selecting the task you wish to focus on, then setting a timer for twenty-five minutes.
  • Work while the timer is ticking, then when it goes off, take a quick two- or three-minute break before setting the timer for another twenty-five minutes.
  • Repeat this three times until you’ve worked for 100 minutes, then take a longer break and start at the beginning if the task is not yet complete.
  • Make sure you don’t give in to any distractions during the twenty-five-minute periods.

Where did the pomodoro method come from?

This technique was invented in Italy by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. He was having difficulty completing his tasks and decided to set a timer for 10 minutes and then take a break. He was so surprised by how much he could accomplish that he kept on using the technique! In his original trials, the timer he used was a kitchen timer shaped like a tomato, hence the name ‘Pomodoro Technique.

Why does it work?

The Pomodoro Technique is successful for several reasons. Mostly, it works because it keeps the human mind functioning within its range of focus. Humans weren’t meant to focus on a task for hours on end without breaks, so the technique helps the mind work more efficiently in the state it was meant to work in. The average adult attention span is only about twenty or thirty minutes, which is why Cirillo chose twenty-five minutes for his technique. Not only that, but the technique also functions, in the same way, breaking a big goal into smaller goals does. It makes the work more attainable and keeps you motivated through the entire process as you conquer each achievement. Overall, the Pomodoro Technique is a very specific short-bust productivity method, one with proven results, that can help keep you on task effectively simply by splitting your work into shorter twenty-five-minute bursts.

What is short-burst productivity?

Let’s go back to the basics — the Pomodoro Method is a version of short-burst productivity. It can sometimes be difficult to stay on task and productive for extended periods. And this is why many experts recommend changing the style of your work to short dedicated bursts.

Work Smarter Not Harder

Although you may think that if you work for an eight-hour day, you will accomplish things more quickly, according to consultant Francesco Cirillo, this is not true. This is because, during a long work period, numerous distractions constantly pull you away from your work, such as emails and phone calls, which can’t be ignored. Also, the pressure on your mind to perform over a long period can quickly transform into frustration. And this frustration leads to you accomplishing less than you think. This is why it is recommended to break your workday down into shorter chunks of time.

How It Works

Short-burst productivity focuses on remaining hyper-focused for a short, specified period. And during this time, you mustn’t acknowledge any distractions.

  1. First, make a list of everything you need to get done, then you set your timer. Cirillo recommends using a physical timer and setting it for 25 minutes to start.
  2. When the timer goes off, take a 3-5-minute break to address anything you may need to, then set the timer again and do another 25 minutes.
  3. Repeat this three times until you have worked for just over 100 minutes.
  4. Then take an extended twenty-minute break before starting the cycle over again.

You’ll likely be surprised when you look back over what you accomplished.

Why A Physical Timer?

You should use a physical timer, such as a kitchen timer, and not the ‘glance at the clock’ method because having something count down that you can physically see is part of the effect. This helps you feel a sense of urgency in your work, even if the work you are completing isn’t urgent. And when the timer goes off, you will likely feel a sense of mild accomplishment of what you’ve completed. The concept of short-burst productivity may not sound like it is an efficient way to work, but experts who have worked with the human mind for years swear by it. So next time you have a large project to tackle, consider grabbing your kitchen timer and try breaking it down into easier pieces to handle.

pomodoro method

What are the benefits of short-burst productivity and the pomodoro method?

Although it may sound strange, most human productivity experts recommend that people employ the short-burst productivity methods while working. And this isn’t without reason, as they have found numerous benefits in productivity when humans work for shorter periods.

It Minimizes Distractions

In this day and age, when every employee has a personal cell phone and access to the internet, it’s extremely easy for them to get distracted from their work. This is because you never know when your phone rings if it’s something which can wait, and you have no specified time of when you should answer it, so there’s no reason not to answer it right then. When you dedicate yourself to working for 25 minutes in the short burst method, you’re less likely to engage in these distractions because you’ll have a specified break in a few minutes in which to deal with these distractions.

It Keeps You Focused

When you work for long periods of time, it’s not uncommon for the human mind to wander-this is just how the human mind is. Short productivity bursts stops this wandering in its tracks because focusing for 25 minutes is much easier than telling your mind to stay engaged for four or even eight hours. And when you’re focused, you’ll produce more work than when you keep thinking about what you will do after work every five minutes. Not only that but focusing for 25 minutes on work in front of you stops multitasking, which many people engage in even if they don’t notice.

It Challenges Your Brain

One of the main tactics of short-burst productivity is to pit your mind against a timer where you can see the remaining time countdown. Whether you realize it or not, this puts some pressure on your brain and helps your mind see the work as a challenge that it needs to complete before the time runs out. This is a stark difference from sitting at your desk all day knowing you have a deadline, but it’s hours away, so you don’t worry about it. The timer gives you a sense of urgency, which in turn gives you a sense of motivation.

Overall, there are numerous benefits to changing your work style to short-burst productivity, such as fewer distractions, increased focus, and more of a challenge for your mind. So, give short-burst productivity a day and see what all you can accomplish in your life!

Why is working in short bursts so powerful when using the pomodoro method?

pomodoro method

If you’ve ever used the short-burst productivity method for your work, you’ve likely been amazed at all you can accomplish in a cluster of short periods of work. And this isn’t by mistake-there are many reasons the human mind works better in short bursts than spending all day on one project.

Short Term Goals

In goal setting, you are encouraged to break up your largest goals into smaller pieces. This is because you’re more likely to stay motivated, on track, and focused when you have clear stepping stones to your goal. Breaking down your day of work functions in this same way, you are breaking your work into shorter goals making it easier for you to stay motivated and complete the work.

It Increases Problem Solving

When the human mind comes across a problem, it can easily become overstressed if it takes too much time focusing on the issue. And when your mind is overstressed, you’re unlikely to be able to problem-solve effectively. When work is broken into shorter bursts, where you take frequent breaks, this keeps your mind from getting overstressed and keeps you on the top of your problem-solving game.

It Mirrors The Attention Span

Although you’re an adult, you still have a maximum attention span, and at the end of this period, your mind will likely begin to wander. So why fight human nature by scheduling yourself to work for long periods when your mind is bound to wander? Exactly. The short-burst productivity method works because 25 minutes is directly in line with the average adult human attention span, working with your nature of focus instead of against it.

It’s Easier To Resist Tempting Distractions

People are often drawn away from their work by several distractions, such as talking to coworkers, their phone, or a food break. When you divide your work into smaller pieces, it becomes easier to resist the temptation to be distracted because you know you will be free in a few minutes, and it makes no sense to interrupt your workflow now. When you don’t have a specified work time and know you have a day that ends at a certain hour, you have no reason to avoid distractions. Working in short bursts is powerful. Unlike other work methods, it works with human nature, rather than against it, holding your attention, keeping you motivated, and helping you stop distractions in their tracks.

Are there any drawbacks to using the pomodoro method?

pomodoro method

Conquering your work by dividing it and completing it in short bursts has long been the favored work method of experts and workers worldwide. So, what are the drawbacks to working in short bursts? Are there any? Well, like anything in this world, there is a downside, but it isn’t as bad as you may think.

It Doesn’t Work for Every Project

There are some projects or assignments which we can’t break into smaller parts. For example, if you have to transcribe a live lecture, taking a break every twenty-five minutes isn’t feasible, and if you tried, your notes would be inconsistent and incomplete. Team projects can also be difficult to apply the short burst work method to, because sometimes it can take twenty-five minutes for everyone in the group to reign in their attention and bring the project where it needs to be. Having a timer interrupt this process could be detrimental and slow down the production process.

It Doesn’t Work for Everyone

Some people find that having a timer count down as they work makes them too anxious and edgy, and as a result, their work quality will suffer. And experiencing anxiety while you work is never a pleasant experience. If this is you, don’t force the method. You can still work for short periods and take breaks without the rigid time clock imposed by using a timer. Part of the short burst method of working is to find a work method that helps you get stuff done. If this isn’t that method, that’s okay too.

Sometimes You Work Too Fast

The short burst work method is praised for its results in the speed with which its users produce work. But sometimes, as someone is working quickly and up against a ticking clock, they may make careless mistakes that they would have caught if they were working at a slower pace. If mistakes can be detrimental to your work, you can still try the short burst method of completing tasks; just make sure you go back and check your work more slowly later.

In general, the positives of working in short bursts far outweigh the drawbacks. And even if you find a situation or project the method can’t be employed on, this doesn’t mean you can’t successfully use the tactic to complete a different project later.

How the pomodoro method could change your life

Maybe someone has introduced you to the method of working in short bursts, but it all just sounds so strange to you. And granted, it doesn’t seem like you could accomplish much in twenty-five-minute intervals, so why would you switch? Well, you might be surprised to find out that working in short bursts can change your life.

pomodoro method

What You Will Accomplish Will Astound You

The obvious change is you will be shocked by the amount of work you can get done in such a short time. You likely didn’t even realize how truly distracted you were before. And your motivation levels and sense of accomplishment will be through the roof! Which will only lead to you achieving even more!

You’ll Spend Less Time On Social Media

You probably don’t even realize how much time you currently waste away on your phone. Whether it’s scrolling through social media, watching videos, or simply surfing the net, when you split your work up into short bursts, you’ll put a timer on your social media time, which will cut it way back-and give you more time for the things which matter in life.

You’ll Remember More

Studies have shown that the longer the work period, the more your concentration, focus, and, most importantly, your memory tends to suffer. Memory world champion Dominic O’Brien swears by the short burst method and all it’s done for his astounding memory capabilities. Using this method to memorize works because when your brain focuses for too long, it gets stressed and retains less. So, when you give it frequent breaks, it has an easier time remembering the content.

You’ll Have More Free Time

Besides just trimming down your social media time, you’ll be surprised about how much spare time you have each day that you aren’t spending just staring at your computer or day dreaming out the window. With the short burst method, you are forced to use your time more effectively, keeping your brain wandering to very short, timed intervals. This will lead to having lots of time left over at the end of your day for more of the hobbies you enjoy.

Although working in short bursts might sound like a weird concept, it works, and the experts swear by it and all it has done in their lives. Give it a try today, after all, you have nothing to lose, and the method has the possibility to absolutely change your life for the better.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the pomodoro technique work?

  • The Pomodoro Method is done by first selecting the task you wish to focus on, then setting a timer for twenty-five minutes.
  • Work while the timer is ticking, then when it goes off, take a quick two- or three-minute break before setting the timer for another twenty-five minutes.
  • Repeat this three times until you’ve worked for 100 minutes, then take a longer break and start at the beginning if the task is not yet complete.
  • Make sure you don’t give in to any distractions during the twenty-five-minute periods.

How does the pomodoro method work?

The Todoist offers a great summary of the method:

  1. Pick a task
  2. Set a 25-minute timer
  3. Work on your task until the timer goes off
  4. Take a 5-minute break
  5. Every four cycles, take a longer 15-30 minute break

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