What do you think, in which way tomatoes and project management are connected? No idea? Well, let’s reveal a little secret. Ever heard of the Pomodoro technique? (Pomodoro in Italian stands for tomato.) This technique has been around for quite some time, and millions swear by it.
We often struggle with productivity and motivation, especially when we have a lot of tasks to handle, which might lead us to experience mental fatigue and burnout. Recently, things in the office have been hectic, and a couple of us decided to put the Pomodoro technique to the test. We will walk you through our findings and share everything we have discovered so far.
What Is the Pomodoro Technique?
This management system encourages people to work with the time they have, not against it. By applying this method to your workload, you break down your workday into 25-minute intervals, followed by five-minute breaks. These 25-minute chunks are called pomodoros. After making about four pomodoros, you can take a more extended break, up to 20 minutes.
The idea behind this concept is to install a sense of urgency. Sometimes we take a whole day to accomplish simple tasks. Rather than feeling we have endless time to get things done, we apply the Pomodoro technique to avoid wasting precious hours on distractions.
Additionally, even though they were forced, these short breaks helped us overcome that burnt-out feeling most of us tend to experience as the working day ends. You can easily get lost and spend hours in front of your computer, but the tracker always reminds you to take a break. If you want to make things easier, download the Pomodoro app on your smartphone, it helped us a lot.
Why Is It Called the Pomodoro Technique?
It all started back in the 80s when a university student Francesco Cirillo used tomato-shaped kitchen times to organize his schedule. In the beginning, he experimented with different time intervals, starting with two minutes, and ending in one hour. He soon realized that long working intervals were unsuitable for him because he had difficulty focusing and staying on task.
Eventually, Cirillo decided that a 25-minute interval was optimal for his needs. So, a 25-minute time interval is referred to as Pomodoro, the Italian word for tomato. From his experience, this Italian recognized that time could be his ally instead of a source of anxiety.
Essentially, this technique trains people to focus explicitly on tasks but limit their working time while they use breaks as a reward for their effort. This method also eliminates the need for multitasking or procrastinating, which are known to hinder productivity.
Tomato Timer Method
Each Pomodoro is a time-boxed interval you use to complete a chunk of work related to a particular task. To implement this technique, you must plan at the beginning of your workday. For instance, you will want to box small tasks like checking your email and messages in one go, while bigger projects need to be divided into smaller subtasks.
- Step 1: Write down the list of the most urgent actions you need to do throughout your workday. Sort tasks by priority and split them into time intervals. (25 minutes).
- Step 2: Get rid of distractions and set your time. Set the timer or use the app on your computer or phone.
- Step 3: Focus on a task until the timer goes off.
- Step 4: Take a short break. (Five minutes)
- Step 5: Repeat this four times (4 x 25 minutes), then take a longer break (up to 20 minutes).
As explained, 25-minute work sprints are the main concept of the Pomodoro technique. But, to get the most out of each sprint, make sure to apply these rules:
Divide complex projects: If you have a task requiring more than four pomodoros, it needs to be split into smaller chunks. Sticking to this rule ensures faster progress.
Group small tasks: smaller tasks that need less than one Pomodoro need to be grouped into one. For example, contacting clients and answering emails could be combined into a one-time interval.
Wait until the alarm goes off: This unit of time can’t be broken. You don’t want to check your phone or chat with the team. If any task or request arises, take note, and address it later.
If you need to address something urgently, take your five-minute break and start the process again. Make sure to track the interruptions and think about how to avoid them in the future.
The Focus technique is one of the simplest time-management methods to help you stay on top of your tasks. It is particularly used in project management because it assists project leaders and team members in working in several clearly defined, short intervals while ensuring they are focused on tasks ahead of them.
Take a timer or stopwatch and set it up for 25 minutes. When the alarm goes off, you take a 5-minute break. Once you complete four or these focus time sessions, it’s time to treat yourself to a longer break, up to 20 minutes.
This will help you and your team preserve energy throughout the day and be more productive. The short 5-minute breaks will improve your endurance, and you can work much longer than usual.
25-Minute Study Method – Benefits
Simple and Flexible
The Pomodoro technique doesn’t impose challenging rules, and everything is pretty straightforward. All you need is a time app, and even your phone’s stopwatch will do the trick. You work for short sessions, stop to take a break, and repeat.
The method is super easy, and you don’t need special training. But even hardcore Pomodoros will lose some time during the day. Maybe you need to take a call from an important client, or a high-priority email landed in your inbox.
Phone calls, social media, chat, and email can be distracting. Even if you are just checking your email, there is a big chance you won’t be focused on work. The Pomodoro technique eliminates distractions and helps you focus on a particular task at a time. You can do this at home or in the office.
Instead of gearing up to work several hours at a time, you simply have to stay focused for 25-minute intervals. It’s enough time to finish the work but not enough to lose focus. Any task will seem more manageable if you have to work on it in a single-timed session. After all, you can procrastinate in that five-minute break you have.
Helps You Be Time-savvy
By dividing your workday into planned chunks, you’ll get a real sense of how much work you can do within a certain timeframe. This helps you overcome the planning fallacy because many tend to underestimate how long it takes us to complete a particular task.
Is the Pomodoro Technique Effective?
When we started with the Pomodoro technique, our expectations were not high. While one part of our team likes to procrastinate and check our phones more than they should, others would spend hours in front of computers without even taking a bathroom break.
Initially, working in small-time intervals felt unnatural, and we were tempted to ignore a timer, but our entire group continued working. After some time, we got accustomed to time chunks and breaks. We were more focused, super productive, and eager to complete so many things during those 25 minutes.