The pomodoro technique is a brilliant way to get more stuff done in a shorter amount of time.
The premise is satisfying simple, too. You simply work in blocks of 25 minutes (although this can be customisable), and then break for five to 15 minutes before starting again.
Pomodoro requires a strict, measured approach to work, but if you get it right, it can become strangely addictive and you can get an awful lot done.
There’s just one question probably on your lips: what are you supposed to do in pomodoro breaks?
We’ve got eight brilliant tips for things to do during pomodoro breaks. But, before we get stuck in, it’s worth noting that certain tasks will be suitable for different lengths of pomodoro break, so make sure you choose those that fit neatly into your pomodoro routine.
So, what to do during pomodoro breaks? Let’s go!
1. Go for a short walk
Ah – exercise. It’s one of the most important things you can do during a working day, yet far too many people ignore its importance, choosing instead to get lost in their work for hours on end.
If you take on the pomodoro technique wholeheartedly, you’ll rid yourself of the desire to work for many hours straight. And, when those break times appear, you can take the opportunity to exercise your body. Just a short walk around the office grounds (or garden, if you work from home) will do the trick.
2. Invest time in mindfulness
Mindfulness can help most people considerably at work and in their personal lives. It involves closing your eyes and centring your thoughts on what really matters – the here and now.
It takes time to master and requires a fair degree of consistency if it’s to have a positive impact on your mental health, but that’s the great thing about pomodoro; you can use those five minute breaks to invest time in mindfulness!
3. Get into origami
If you haven’t tried origami before, you’re missing out. This classic past time is a brilliant way to relax oneself and remove your mind from the task in hand.
It’s another past time that you won’t master overnight, but if you use your pomodoro break time to gradually immerse yourself in origami, you’ll discover its simplicity and amazing, calming nature. It’s pretty addictive, too.
4. Listen to your favourite playlist
Music is great therapy for lots of things in life, but it can also provide a much-needed boost if you’ve been working on a project for a while.
With pomodoro, you’ll be working in short blocks of time, therefore your mind will do well from an injection of pleasant noise – i.e. your favourite playlist. What’s more, you could spend some time creating pomodoro-specific playlists that are designed for just the right duration during your breaks.
5. Doodle (or draw, if you can)
Actually, it doesn’t matter if you can’t draw for toffee – doodling and drawing is a personal thing and something you can use during your pomodoro breaks.
Try it. When it’s time to step away from the task in hand, grab a notepad and nice pen and start doodling. It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece; in fact, it doesn’t have to be anything, really. Just the process of putting pen to paper and letting the mind run free will get you ready for the next stretch.
6. Have a good stretch
How often do you stretch your muscles? Few people do, unless it’s during time at the gym or an exercise class.
However, stretching the body is a great way to inject some new energy into oneself. It’ll leave you feeling more supple and ready to get cracking when the pomodoro clock needs to be reset.
7. Drink some water
There are lots of opinions about how much water you should drink each day, but most health professionals will tell you 2 litres is ideal.
Can you honestly say you drink that much water at the moment? If not, why not use your pomodoro break times to drink it?
Think about it: if you do this each time you take a break, you’ll easily hit the two litre recommended daily amount and feel far better for it!
8. Play fetch with the pooch
Got a dog? He or she will want some time out too, and if you work from home, there are few better things you can do with your pomodoro break times than spend quality time with your dog.
When the timer finishes and you need to draw yourself away from the desk, usher the pooch outside, grab a ball and play fetch. Sometimes, it’s the simplest things in life that are the most enjoyable, and that short amount of time with your four-legged friend will leave you feeling energised and ready for more.
Things NOT to do during your Pomodoro break
So, now you know what you should be doing during your pomodoro break, what about the stuff you shouldn’t be up to?
Here’s two examples of pomodoro break no-gos:
Browse the web
Depending on what you do for a living, browsing the web probably plays some form of role in your work.That’s one reason not to continue doing it during a pomodoro break, but the other is that you can get lost in a sea of content that forces you to extend your break way beyond the allotted time.
Try and stay away from any device that provides access to the web during your break.
Check Social Media
If there’s one modern invention that is the worst time-suck of them all, it’s social media.You might be able to convince yourself that you can spend just five minutes looking at Facebook, for instance, but you’ll almost certainly get lost in a never ending pit of posts, comments and videos that draw your attention away from work.
Social media during a break? It’ll take up more of your precious time than you might think.
Of course, if you think you can do the above in the time you have available for each break and without eating into your next stretch of work – go for it.
It’s important to remember that, whatever task you choose above, it’s a good idea to try something different. For instance, if your job involves looking at a screen for long periods of time, origami might be a nice way to get away from its glare.
Enjoy your pomodoro off-time – it should be pleasurable enough to get you ready for that next stretch of work.