So, what is the Pomodoro Technique? If you’ve got even the smallest amount of interest in productivity and the many tools and techniques available to help you get stuff done, you’ll have heard of this curious technique.
If you’re looking for a guide to Pomodoro Technique, you need look no further. This blog can be viewed as a beginners guide to Pomodoro Technique, but it’s something you’ll almost definitely want to refer back to in the future.
This is for one good reason. Productivity is something that comes in waves and even the most efficient people on the planet will occasionally need a reminder about how to get their best work done more quickly.
We all hit roadblocks in our work lives, but the Pomodoro method is something that will give you back more personal time while helping you maximise every hour you spend at work. It’ll also help you distinguish between being busy vs productive.
Read on for a guide to Pomodoro Technique that demystifies this brilliant and much relied-upon form of productivity.
Who invented Pomodoro Technique?
In the 1980s, a software designer, agile coach and productivity expert called Francesco Cirillo wanted to find out how to be more productive.
For Cirillo, this was a desire to get more studying done and he quickly realised that he could use chunks of time far more effectively in order to get more done.
Thus, the Pomodoro Technique was born and Cirillo found a way to be far more productive.
He was so inspired by the new method that he decided to write a whitepaper about the productivity technique and release it for free so that others could benefit from his productivity research.
So, how do I use the Pomodoro method, you might ask. The premise behind this technique is refreshingly simple – like most things related to efficiency! This, thankfully, makes writing a Pomodoro Technique guide rather easy.
The Pomodoro Technique relies on what’s known as ‘time boxing’. You will doubtless have been in a situation where you find it hard to stop procrastinating and actually start work on a specific task. No matter what you do in that situation, you just can’t seem to get started and as a result, the task continually slips to the bottom of your to-do list.
With Pomodoro, you work in blocks of time (usually of twenty-five minutes), interspersed with breaks, during which you can recharge.
The effect is a ‘firewall’ for your attention which is only required for short bursts, thus enabling you to achieve more in a smaller amount of time, thanks to those recharge periods.
The impact can be a stunning upturn in productivity levels, which is why this beginners guide to Pomodoro method could be just what you need to kickstart your work ethic once more.
Continue reading for our beginners guide to Pomodoro Technique!
How to use the Pomodoro Technique to achieve more
That to-do list isn’t getting any smaller, is it? In fact, there are several jobs on there that appear to be completely insurmountable.
You can’t imagine starting them – let alone finishing them.
Productivity doesn’t come easy. In fact, it’s something that you have to work at for a life time and you’ll never truly master it.
The key lies in maximising the time you have to work and this is where the Pomodoro Technique is so effective.
To make it work for you, you simply need to work in periods of twenty-five minute intervals. It’s a repetition that should result in a much higher level of productivity for you and can become very addictive.
The steps are simple:
- work out what task you need to tackle next;
- set your Pomodoro (this can be a physical egg timer or app);
- work solely on that task until the Pomodoro is finished;
- take a five-minute break; and
- for every four pomodoros you complete, take a longer break of 15-20 minutes.
See? Simple stuff! In fact, this is a productivity technique that beats most others into a cocked-hat, because it’s so easy to integrate.
You don’t really need any special tools and the premise is something that we can all understand. It’ll also work for virtually any type of job or task.
Just remember – it’s vital you only focus on that specific task during those twenty-five minutes. That means no distractions (turn email off!), no looking wistfully out of the window (unless required for inspiration) and definitely no skipping onto something simpler if the task in hand starts to get tough.
Francesco Cirillo has absolutely nailed the process of focusing on one task at a time and the introduction of a timer adds a competitive, focused element to this process which should work brilliantly for most people.
Here are six techniques you’ll need to make sure the Pomodoro method works for you – they’ll work perfectly as a guide to Pomodoro Technique if you want to hand them onto a colleague or friend.
1. Find out how much effort each activity requires
Most of us have a bunch of tasks we need to complete each day. In order for the Pomodoro Technique to work efficiently for you, it’s vital that you work out how much effort is required for each task.
By doing this, you can then relate the time to how many pomodoros you’ll need for each task.
This is where your to-do list gets very interesting and it’ll give you a clear indication about whether or not you’re overpromising yourself each day about what you can get done.
If, for instance, you have five tasks on your list for today but realise that task one alone requires ten pomodoros, that clearly means you’re barely going to get onto task two.
But that’s fine – you’re already starting to learn about how valuable your time is and just how long you need to allocate to each task!
2. Protect yourself from all interruptions
Now, in the modern, digital world, this is one of the hardest parts of any form of productivity.
How do you stop procrastinating when there are so many distractions everywhere you look? From email to the myriad of smartphone notifications we all receive, protecting yourself from interruptions isn’t easy.
Of all the elements of the beginner’s guide to Pomodoro method, this is the one you’ll probably need to work on most wholesomely.
Start by identifying every possible distraction (make a note of them as you go about your daily life) and work to cut them out.
Thankfully, most distractions can be turned off, but if there are certain work environments that are too distracting, try and work elsewhere during your Pomodoro time.
3. Make accurate predictions about how much time you need
If you want to become ultra-productive at work, you need to be ultra-honest with yourself.
A huge part of Pomodoro success relates to the accuracy with which you can predict how much time you require for each task.
We covered this in tip 1 above, but, occasionally, you won’t have a solid idea of the time required to complete a task. If that concerns you, spend some Pomodoro time planning and head to the next tip.
4. Use Pomodoro time for recap and review – not just work
Whether you need to plan the time required for the next task, recap on what you achieved yesterday or review an older piece of work, always use your Pomodoro time for it.
This might sound like an ineffectual use of those twenty-five minute slots, but nothing could be further from the truth.
If you’re wondering how to be more productive, you need to apply this method to everything you do, whether it feels like real ‘get your hands dirty’ work or research, because it all adds to your end goal (see tip 6) and accumulative work for the day.
5. Set a morning and afternoon timetable
Imagine being able to create more free time. Well, with the Pomodoro Technique, you really can do that.
But first, you’ll need to set a morning and afternoon timetable. Book time in with yourself to ensure you can fit in the Pomodoro time you need each day for your tasks.
Try and keep things consistent too and marry your timetable with the times you rise and fall each day. Your body and mind will crave consistency of this kind and a timetable is the best way to keep your productivity levels on the straight and narrow.
6. Note down your final personal objective
A beginners guide to Pomodoro Technique wouldn’t be complete without mentioning your final personal objective.
You’re reading this blog for a reason. Maybe you just wanted a guide to Pomodoro Technique, or perhaps you’re concerned that you’re no longer as productive as you once were.
Whatever the reason you have for introducing this method, it should always relate to a single personal goal.
That could be to get more single tasks done in a day, to spend more time on a specific client or to finally get that qualification you’ve always wanted.
Whatever it is, set your personal goal now and keep it forever in mind while your Pomodoro timer is ticking down.
Does it have to be 25-minutes?
We’ve hopefully got you excited about Pomodoro productivity, but there’s almost definitely one question on your mind.
Does it really have to be undertaken in chunks of twenty-five minutes?
Nope! In fact, you might find that your ideal productivity rhythm sits within 15 minutes of work, or thirty minutes of work.
It’s ok to find your own Pomodoro time. This can relate to your individual circumstances, the line of work you’re in and sometimes the task in hand (it’s ok to have different Pomodoro intervals for different tasks).
The important thing is that you set the time long enough to get something meaningful done, but not so long that you end up jaded by the task.
It’ll take time to find your ideal Pomodoro time, but as part of this beginners guide to Pomodoro method, we’d recommend sticking with the default of twenty-five minutes.
How Pomodoro Technique can help me
Getting things done is one of the great joys of life. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of consistently checking off a bunch of to-do items on a big list.
The great thing about this productivity technique is that it can be used across a whole range of disciplines and situations.
You might be wondering, however, how Pomodoro productivity can help you and how to use the Pomodoro method during your working and personal life.
With that in mind, let’s consider three of the most obvious, beneficial uses for this technique as part of our beginner’s guide to Pomodoro Technique.
1. At work
As great as it can be to work in the digital age, there’s no escaping (literally, sometimes) the number of distractions we come up against.
Equally, time pressures seem greater than ever in the modern world and with workers across all industries expected to achieve more in less time, the Pomodoro technique is an ideal way to get to the bottom of your work to-do list and keep your boss and clients happy.
2. While studying
Francesco Cirillo invented this method to get more studying done and it’s easy to see why.
When considering how to be more productive during your study time (be it for college, work training or research), we definitely recommend turning to the Pomodoro Technique.
3. At home
Productivity isn’t something that is only of use at work or during periods of study – it can ensure we get the most important things done at home, too.
Paying household bills, filling out that new dentist application form or finally writing your wedding speech are just some examples of tasks we undertake in our personal lives which would benefit from the Pomodoro productivity technique.
Pomodoro Technique apps and tools
This beginners guide to Pomodoro Technique wouldn’t be complete without a list of the best apps and tools that will help you build the process into your work ethic.
So, without further ado, here are four favourites:
A brilliantly simple web app, the TomatoTimer does exactly what you’d expect of it. It’s a free Pomodoro app which provides timers for twenty-five minutes of productiveness and short and long breaks.
Just hit start, stop and reset to get going.
2. Your smartphone
Bearing in mind this is a beginners guide to Pomodoro method, why don’t we keep things simple?
You’ve got a smartphone, right? Great! Then you have a Pomodoro timer! Just open the timer app and set it to the correct intervals. Simple!
3. Awesome Pomodoro Simple Timer
This free Pomodoro app for iOS is a great way to use your smartphone for Pomodoro productivity.
Just install the app and you’ll find a great way to get things done within the palm of your hand. Find out more by clicking this link.
4. Google 25 minute timer
Google is far more than just a search engine and this is evident if you simply type in ’25 minute timer’ into its search field.
This gives you a timer that’s always easy to find and perfect for the Pomodoro method!
We should note in the beginner’s guide to Pomodoro Technique that there are many other apps and tools out there and the right one for you could be a combination of the above or just the simplest. Whatever it is, stick with it!
Did you enjoy our beginners guide to Pomodoro method? Stay tuned for more in the future, because there’s plenty more to this brilliant productivity method.