Introduced by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s, the Pomodoro technique has rapidly become one of the most sought-after time management techniques among businessmen, career professionals and students. Utilizing the Pomodoro technique to produce results is largely dependent on personal preference. While most people buy into the idea of using the skills embedded in this technique to improve productivity, there are a few who are skeptical about the results.
Practicing the pomodoro technique has been shown to work due to the frequent breaks keeping the brain rested more often without getting burnt out over long sessions. However this is not the be all end all technique as some people may find it difficult as well due to the constant interruptions and short working times
What exactly is the Pomodoro technique?
The Pomodoro technique is basically a mechanism of time management. It has been found to be useful by helping those who adopt it improve on their focus and creativity. Together, these two elements are major prerequisites for adequate task completion. Such people will also usually complete tasks faster, as well as maintain a refreshed state of mind in the process.
The mechanism involved in the Pomodoro technique is pretty straightforward, for every task you need to complete throughout the day, you allocate small packets of time, which will have periodical short breaks. For instance, you allocate 25 minutes to each of your tasks with little (5 minute) breaks in between. Each 25 minute time packet is called a “pomodoro”, which translates to tomato in Italian. After about four 25 minute packets or four Pomodoro sessions which equates to about 100 minutes of work time and total breaks of 15 minutes, you are then allowed to take a longer break of 20 to 30 minutes.
As you finish the smaller broken-down tasks, you may indicate the completion with either a tick or an “X”. According to Pomodoro experts, it is also important to note how many times you had the strong urge to procrastinate the task at hand or switch to another task during the 25-minute packet.
How can it improve your Productivity?
Productivity is absolutely important in any given capacity. It singularly could be the reason that your colleague is so valued at work, or your teacher has a soft spot for a particular student- all because they produce results. A low productivity rate implies inadequate work time has been put in and as such, there aren’t sufficient results. People have been utilizing the Pomodoro technique for years to improve their productivity, albeit with tangible results. But how exactly does this technique work? In what ways does it improve your productivity? Well, there are a number of ways.
Firstly, the advantages of taking consistent breaks while performing difficult tasks are ever present. Consistent breaks keep you refreshed and feeling less fatigued. This will cause a significant change in your work or study results very quickly.
Also, utilizing the pomodoro technique especially when you have numerous tasks to execute in a short period of time, has also proven effective. This is possible because the pomodoro technique forces you to stick to a strict schedule or system, thereby ensuring you finish the task within the stipulated time. Additionally, watching the clock time out can serve as extra motivation, spurring you to finish your current task quicker than was expected. The Pomodoro technique also enables you to become more responsible towards your tasks and reduces, significantly, the time spent on projects.
How to use the Pomodoro technique effectively
Now you’re convinced the pomodoro technique is an amazing tool for time management, the next step is the proper utilization of this technique to achieve desirable results. It is important to use pomodoro everyday, in order to build your daily concentration ability. It is also important to challenge yourself to complete a particular number of pomodoros within the stipulated time.
Write out all the tasks to be completed that day, then proceed to estimate the time packet that will be sufficient for those tasks. After that, you should reduce any major task that will take more than four pomodoros into smaller tasks that will be easier to execute. Immediately when the clock timer begins, you must focus throughout the duration and complete the assigned task until the timer stops.
Does the Pomodoro technique work for studying?
One of the most popular classes of people in need of efficient yet fun methods of time management are students. It is interesting to note that one benefit of overcoming procrastination and improving productivity while studying is getting impressive grades. However, studying is not limited to students alone; this intellectual activity is carried out by every class of people, and yet utilizing the pomodoro technique while studying isn’t for everybody.
Everyone studies differently. People apply and adopt different methods and techniques (whatever suits their needs and lifestyle). There are several studying techniques available that may invalidate the pomodoro technique in many cases. For example there are a few that love to study for long hours without any interruptions whatsoever. They do not take breaks until they’re done.
Over the years there has been in depth research into the validity of the pomodoro technique. Although most of these researches are still at an early stage, the results so far are promising. For instance, one research probed into the effect of the technique on software developers. The results showed that the pomodoro technique significantly improved productivity as a result of reduced interruptions and distractions.
Also, there have been some interesting claims that the pomodoro technique elicited positive effects on people carrying out studying or writing projects. In one case, Lois Talagrand, a Magazine golf writer, discovered that the pomodoro improved the number of words he wrote per hour by about 60%, from 567 to 905 words every hour.
How many Pomodoro can you do a day?
Without utilizing the pomodoro technique, executing a huge project would probably seem herculean in comparison to how easy it is splitting it into several time packets. The truth is, many people have been using this technique for years without knowledge of what it is or what it is called.
The daily number of pomodoros depends on the nature of the project or task at hand. Bigger and more complex projects would naturally require more pomodoros than smaller projects. However, it is advisable to not exceed 14 pomodoros per day. If your task requires more, you may shift the rest of the work to the next day so as not to put too much strain on your mind and body.
You should also set the bar a little higher for yourself everyday when it comes to the number of pomodoros you can complete. After every daily session, analyze the recorded data and note things you can do to help you improve your ability to concentrate.
Are there any cons to the Pomodoro technique?
Every philosophy, no matter how probable useful or popular, has its own criticisms. The pomodoro technique is no different. There are a few critics with claims of certain negatives regarding the technique, some who believe pomodoros ironically are a waste of time and do not help with time management.
For example, Yahoo employee and self established blogger Colin Miller says he did not get any of his desired results when he used the technique. He believes that the main disadvantage of the pomodoro technique lies in the completion of each time packet in order to tick the task or mark it with an “X”. Miller postulates that the fact that every task must end in a tick, most people will not begin tasks they cannot complete in the 25 minute time packet. For instance, if mowing the lawn would naturally take 30 minutes and each time packet contains just 25 minutes, he would not begin the pomodoro in the first place as there won’t be enough time to complete it.
Pomodoro critic Mario Fusco is another strong discreditor of the technique. He postulates that the entire session seems ridiculous. For him, it is not possible to maintain absolute focus on your task with the clock timer counting down near you. According to Fusco, that alone can simply hinder concentration and as a result, affect productivity.
With the many benefits the pomodoro technique is said to offer, in your workspace or school, it is quite refreshing to know that the practice will cost you absolutely nothing. In fact, you do not require a fancy timer or stopwatch, you can utilize the apps on your phone or computer. Even if after trying the technique, you realize the results fall below expectations, you are consoled by the fact that it was absolutely free. You lose nothing!