How can you stay on top of your tasks with the “Pomodoro” Technique?

Simple but very effective…

Nowadays, there are so many distractions, making more and more people struggle to stay on top of their tasks. When you see a message on Facebook or a new video on YouTube, you think to yourself, “Oh, I’ll just take a few minutes to check these things.” That few minutes turns into half an hour, that half an hour turns into a few hours, and the next thing you know, you have to do something else.

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

So how do we get our tasks done without getting distracted? The secret is using “Pomodoro’s,” the Italian word for tomatoes, rather than hours. The Pomodoro Technique is a popular time management technique that allows you to work in sessions with small breaks in between.

So what is the Pomodoro Technique?

Francesco Cirillo developed the Pomodoro Technique in the late 1980s. He wrote a book called “The Pomodoro Technique,” where he details the technique. However, I will summarize it here:

Step 1: Create a to-do list and grab a timer.

Step 2: Focus on a single task for precisely 25 minutes.

Step 3: Once the timer rings, write down what you completed and mark off one Pomodoro.

Step 4: Take a 5-minute break.

Step 5: Repeat until you have marked off four Pomodoro’s. After marking off four Pomodoro’s, take a 15–30 minute break.

The 25-minute work intervals are the core of this technique, but there are a few more steps to make the method even more effective:

  1. Break complex projects into smaller ones. If a task on your to-do list takes more than four Pomodoro’s, you should divide it into smaller tasks to make the job more manageable. This also allows you to see if you’re making progress clearly.
  2. Combine small tasks. If a job takes less than one Pomodoro, combine it with other functions that will take less than one Pomodoro. For example, “put test and project dates on the calendar” could go along with “read a short article on the Pomodoro Technique” in one session.
  3. Make sure to follow the Pomodoro timer! It would help if you never broke the Pomodoro by checking text messages or your email (Unless that is part of your task). Any statements or ideas that come up should be jot down. Then you can come back to it later during your breaks. If they’re in an emergency or an unavoidable disruption, this should be noted. Then you can reflect on how to prevent this disruption later.

Tips to stay on top of your tasks more effectively with the Pomodoro Technique.

  • Plan your Pomodoro’s. Take a few minutes every day to plan out your Pomodoro’s. Figure out how many Pomodoro’s every task on your to-do list will take. Also, make sure you leave room for error. In case your estimate is off or an unexpected meeting comes up, you will have extra Pomodoro’s for these tasks.
  • Experiment. Some people may find that longer work sessions with longer breaks work best. A study by DeskTime has found that a 52-minute work session and a 17-minute break work best. For some more grueling tasks that you’ve been putting off for a while, try shorter work sessions instead. If you feel you cannot focus for the full 25 minutes, try 10 minute Pomodoro’s instead.
  • Stay away from screens! If your Pomodoro session requires you to work on your computer, don’t just switch over to Facebook when you hear the timer. Instead, give your body a break from screens and get active. You can stretch, take a walk, do some meditation, grab some food, or do something productive.

Why does the Pomodoro Technique work?

While it may seem silly to use tomatoes to help you stay on top of your tasks, the Pomodoro Technique is quite effective. Here are the reasons why:

  • Tackles Distractions. If you have ever gotten distracted while you were “in the zone,” you may know how hard it is to focus again. Getting distracted also takes a lot of time away. According to a University of California Irvine study, “it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to the task.” That’s almost a whole Pomodoro! It’s also effortless to get distracted. An email here, a text message there, and next thing you know, you’re scrolling through Facebook. However, it makes you concentrate on the task at hand for 25 minutes and does not allow any distractions, allowing you to focus and get your jobs done with the Pomodoro Technique.
  • It makes it easy to stay on top of your tasks. Most times, procrastination has to do with us putting things off. It may be challenging to do a big project, and you may not be sure how to do it. However, with the Pomodoro Technique, you make a to-do list, which allows you to know what you should be doing clearly. Also, the Pomodoro Technique helps with big tasks by breaking them down into smaller tasks for you. This allows you to concentrate on specific portions and slowly get the project done without worrying about how large the project is.

Conclusion

The Pomodoro Technique is a great way to stay on top of your tasks. The Pomodoro Technique requires the use of a to-do list, which makes it very easy to keep on top of things as you can see exactly what you need to get done all on one paper. The Pomodoro Technique also motivates you to get these tasks done. By working for 25 minutes and rewarding yourself with a 5-minute break, the Pomodoro Technique incentivizes you to get your work done so that you can take a break. Another benefit of the Pomodoro Technique is its ability to keep you focused. Since the Pomodoro Technique requires you to work for 25 minutes before anything else, you will not be disrupted and will get a very productive 25 minutes of work.

Who knew tomatoes could be so beneficial to help you manage your time and keep up-to-date on your tasks?

Contributing Author

Ivan Yuk is a high school student with the passion in writing. He is aspiring to be a successful entrepreneur, and is also an avid stock trader. He also loves learning more about the world around him and how things work.

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