There’s nothing that brings me greater joy than to see you improve yourself and the way you work and structure your life. That’s right, because what I’m going to share today does not only apply to your job, but you can use it for literally any area in your life. Today I’m going to be talking about one technique that you can start using in your life to increase your productivity, and that is the Pomodoro technique.
I know, I know, maybe you’ve tried all sorts of different things to increase your productivity, but you always feel that you fall back to your old habits after a while. Or maybe you try a system, but it doesn’t really work for you, or whoever shares about it makes it sound too difficult so you don’t even try it. Well, I want to make things as easy as possible for you, so we are going to talk about this technique from the basics, and go into detail to understand what it is, how you can make it work in your life and its benefits. Let’s dive in!
What is the Pomodoro Technique?
This is a time management method that goes waaaay back in time, precisely around the 1980’s – okay, maybe not THAT back, but it’s definitely been around for a while, and it was created by Francesco Cirillo. Pomodoro is Italian for tomato, and essentially this technique means that you look at the tasks you have to complete on a specific day, and pick the one you’ll start working on first. Then you set a 25 minute time where you put all your focus into completing as much as you can of that task, and once the timer goes off you take a 5 minutes break. You repeat this for 4 pomodoros (four intervals of 25 minutes of work + a 5-minute break), after which you earn a 15-30 minutes break, and then you start the process again.
Soooo many people have tried this method and have been using it for years, and they swear by it.
What are the benefits of the Pomodoro Technique?
There are quite a few benefits associated with this technique, so I’m going to try and list them below.
1. Increase your productivity
This is obviously the first one that comes to mind, which is also why I’m talking about it on here today. You want to make sure that you invest your time in the best – and wisest – possible way, so that you don’t find yourself procrastinating, or doing things that aren’t moving the needle, which will eventually make you feel even more overwhelmed and like you didn’t get anything done.
2. Reduce the chances of multitasking
This is definitely another benefit of the Pomodoro Method because it allows you to focus on one task only, instead of jumping back and forth from one thing to another, which will ultimately KILL your productivity instead of boost it.
Now, I know that this might seem contradictory, but I do believe that there is a way you can integrate tasks to get more things done in less time, but it has to be very strategic and properly planned out. This is why I wrote a whole blog post about it where I share my opinion on whether multitasking is good or bad and a few tips on how you can do it the right way.
3. It helps you not to overwork yourself
I know we live in the hustle culture – which I highly discourage, and replace it with my philosophy of working from a place of rest. It’s so easy to spend a whole day sitting at your desk, and before you know the day is over and it’s already dinner time, right?
That’s another reason why I love the Pomodoro Technique because it forces you – once the timer goes off – to take a break to recharge your batteries, even if it’s just for 5 minutes, instead of pushing yourself until you’re exhausted.
4. It helps you to track your time efficiently
If you never have any way to know how long it takes you to complete a certain task, how will you increase your productivity? If you’re just winging it, anything could take you 15 minutes or 50 minutes, but you won’t know until you sit down to actually do it when it will be too late to structure your workflow in a smart way. By using the Pomodoro Method and tracking how many pomodoros it takes you to complete a certain task, you will become more efficient with your time. Especially if it’s something that is repeated over time (like writing blog posts, or creating your social media calendar, or meal planning), you will be able to create a better schedule for the future because you will know exactly how long they take.
5. It helps you to maintain your motivation
This is very important on a mental level because when you have a lot of work to get done, it can feel quite daunting to actually tackle each task. However, when you know that your work is broken down into chunks and you will have a break at the end of every section, it will help you to actually get work done and stay focused during that time.
How to use the Pomodoro Technique
It’s actually not difficult at all to start using this method in your own life, so let’s go through a few easy steps on how to do it properly. If you need to go back to the beginning of the post to see how it works, go ahead because in this section I’m going to talk about how to do this properly.
1. PLAN OUT YOUR WORKDAY IN ADVANCE
This is the first tip that I want to share with you. Now, this might happen from the second/third time you use the method instead of the first because initially, you might not know how long completing each task actually takes. If you do know how long it takes already, that’s great, and I’ll share with you in a second how to move forward after that. If you don’t know yet, I suggest you track your time the first or second time you do this, and after that, you should be able to plan your workday in advance because you will know the time it takes to complete each task.
After you have done this, you need to write down all the tasks you need to complete for the day, and how many pomodoros they take – how many slices of 25 minutes does it take to complete each one? One? Two (50 minutes)? Three (75 minutes)? That way, you will be able to assign each task to a specific part of the day when you have time for it. For example, if you only have 50 minutes in the morning to do something, you might not want to do a task that takes longer than that, because there won’t be time for it. Instead, you might be able to complete two different tasks of 25 minutes or one of 50. Remember not to write down an endless list, because that’s a recipe for disaster. If you need help, read my blog post with my tips on how to write an effective to-do list.
2. DON’T BREAK UP THE TASKS
What does this mean? If you have something that takes you 50 minutes to complete, but you only have 25 minutes in the morning, then don’t even start that. You want to make sure that if you start working on a specific thing, you will be able to complete it in the same session (with your pomodoros and breaks). So don’t start a task in the morning and say you’ll complete it in the afternoon when you’ll have another 25 minutes free. Just assign it to a time of the day when you know you will be able to get it done in one sitting.
Now, the basic principle of the Pomodoro Method is to work for 25 minutes and have a break for 5, BUT, you can experiment. That means that if you think you can work for 30 or 40 minutes, then go ahead and do it, but that also means that you might need to take a longer break according to the amount of time you’ve spent working. Also, remember that even if you do choose to extend the time spent working, you still should know how long you can remain focused for, and not work longer than that, or the quality of your work – and productivity, will likely decrease. So my point is, try what works for you and then stick to it. If it means you can work uninterruptedly for an hour, then do that and take a break after, if you can only focus for up to 40 minutes, do that. As long as the minimum can be 25 minutes, you are free to experiment.
4. USE A TIMER
Now, this is quite obvious, but what I mean by that is that you should use an actual timer that will actually go off, instead of saying “I’ll keep looking at the clock to see when the 25 minutes are over”. There are TONS of resources, apps, timers of all sorts to help you apply the Pomodoro Method, but you can simply even just set a timer on your phone (as long as you don’t get distracted by it), and track your time that way.
5. DO TAKE AN ACTUAL BREAK
What do I mean by that? I mean that even if you only have 5 minutes between your sessions, you should still use the breaks. It’s easy to think that because it’s only 5 minutes you’ll just stay at your desk, or think about the next thing to do, or check your social media. That’s a big NO from me, and I encourage you to take an actual break. Make a cup of coffee, do a quick stretch, or even walk around the house for no specific reason, or cuddle your puppy if you have one. Just distract yourself for a short period of time to come back even more focused and energized.
My own experience with the Pomodoro Method
Before I end this post, I do want to briefly give you an example of how I use the Pomodoro Technique in my life. I have to say that I never used it before – not consciously at least – until a few weeks ago. I’m normally really big for taking breaks and not working without an end, so that comes naturally to me, but I had never set an actual timer before, and let me tell you, it was amazing. Not only I felt more energized and productive, but I love the fact that I was able to know exactly how long it would take me to create my content strategy and plan for an entire month. That is a HUGE win for me because it ensures I create amazing content for my audience but I can also improve my productivity on my day to day, to then have more time to focus on other tasks that grow my business.
Conclusion on the Pomodoro Technique used for productivity
So, my final thoughts are that I really encourage you to try the Pomodoro Method for yourself, use the tips I have shared with you in this post and create a schedule that works for you. Try it out for a few weeks and see how it works and if it helps you, and remember that ultimately, there is no one-size-fits-all, so you need to do what actually moves the needle for you and helps you to achieve your goals.
Let me know in the comments if you’ve tried the Pomodoro Technique before, and if this post was useful for you, don’t forget to share it and spread the love!
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I love the benefit of minimizing multitasking! So often we could get things done more efficiently if we were only focused on that one thing! You’re so right that this productivity technique also allows us to better keep track of our time. I especially like the extra long break after 4 cycles. Rewards are such a key part of hunkering down to do deep work! Great post 🙂