We all have days when we feel really busy but end up not really achieving anything. Or with the best intentions in the world having attended a ‘time-management’ workshop prioritise like a professional for a short time and then drift back to our old ways. Occasionally we write ‘to-lists, but rarely achieve all the tasks. [I will share with you later the fundamental mistake we make when creating a to-do list ].
Most people I talk to find that when they get truly focused on something they get loads done… but a lot of the time they drift and ‘butterfly’ through the task struggling with distractions.
Miles Kington said ‘Knowledge is knowing that a Tomato is a fruit, and wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.’ Well productivity geniuses know a tomato is a Pomodoro.
The Pomodoro Technique® is a simple but massively powerful productivity tool that is so simple that you will wonder why you didn’t think of it your self and how you got on with stuff before you found it.
Anyway…..enough of the sales pitch……..what is it?
Essential tools… a kitchen timer… [Preferably tomato shaped] [ or the app]
1 Choose a task you would like to get done.
Something big, something small, something you’ve been putting off for ages or just haven’t got round to: it doesn’t matter. What matters is that it’s something that deserves your full, undivided attention.
2 Set your timer for 25 minutes.
Make a small oath to yourself: I will spend 25 minutes on this task and I will not interrupt myself. You can do it! After all, it’s just 25 minutes.
3 Work on the task until your timer rings.
Immerse yourself in the task for the next 25 minutes. If you suddenly realise you have something else you need to do, write the task down on a sheet of paper.
4 When your timer rings put a check mark on your paper.
Congratulations! You’ve spent an entire, interruption-less Pomodoro on a task.
5 Take a short break.
Breathe, meditate, grab a cup of coffee [preferably de-caff or a nice cool chilled glass of water], go for a short walk or do something else relaxing (i.e., not work-related). Your brain will thank you later.
6 Every 4 Pomodoros take a long break.
Once you’ve completed four pomodoros, you can take a longer break. 20 minutes is good. Or 30. Your brain will use this time to assimilate new information and rest before the next round of Pomodoros.
When you get you head round this 25-minute – 5-minute routine you can plan your day better.
Oh yes… the big mistake people make with to do lists… well we never set time frames for each item so inevitably some tasks are not going to get done. This is the beauty of the Pomodoro Technique timings are all set before the day’s activity starts.
The Pomodoro Technique is a trademark of Francesco Cirillo the man who devised the system. Further information can be found at here:
ps…..this post took 2 pomodoro to complete.