The Pomodoro Technique was created by entrepreneur and author Francesco Cirillo back in the late 1980s while he was a student at Guido Carli International University, a business school in Rome.
The method splits up work into intervals, usually of 25 minutes. Each interval is referred to as a ‘Pomodoro’, which is the Italian word for ‘tomato’. These intervals are split up by short breaks of 5 to 10 minutes. Once three or four Pomodoro sessions have passed, a longer break of 20-30 minutes is recommended.
The primary purpose of using the Pomodoro Technique is to improve your focus and flow while at work. Here is a breakdown of exactly how it improves your focus:
Creates a sense of awareness
Often, we have the tendency to procrastinate when we’re at work. For those of us with a regular schedule, it can feel easy for the hours to blend into one another. It can become tempting to take a break and do something else for a while. Unfortunately, this can make even simple tasks drag out for far longer than they have to.
By being aware of how much of our time we are spending on each task, we can treat our time as the valuable commodity that it is, and we are less likely to waste it.
Each time you complete a full Pomodoro session, you can mark down your progress and remind yourself that you’ve achieved something. You also get a short break as a reward.
If you’re unsure what to do during breaks, and you’re looking for ways to boost your motivation even more, you can reward yourself by playing productivity-boosting games such as solitaire.
As well as providing a source of entertainment and enjoyment, games like solitaire have been proven to help to soothe your mind and improve your mental skills, which can also make you more productive at work.
Removes the temptation to multitask
We all like to think that we can focus on completing multiple tasks at the same time. But unfortunately, multitasking is a myth, and it gives you a false sense of being productive and achieving multiple goals.
The Pomodoro Technique requires you to focus on one thing at a time. Before each session, you decide which item on your list you’re going to be working on – and then you start the timer, and you’re set. If you decide you want to work on something else, then you are advised to first finish your current session and wait until the timer ends.
Improves your physical health
Remember how we’re supposed to stand up from our desks and move every 30 minutes to move our body in order to maintain our health? How many people actually do that? Probably not many.
By setting a regular timer that goes off every 25 minutes and breaks you out of work mode, you can make sure you’re moving frequently throughout the day. It doesn’t need to be a huge amount of exercise – doing a few stretches, or making a cup of coffee to drink while you mull over a game of solitaire, will do. The most important thing is to make sure that you’re moving.
Feeling intrigued? Try it for a week and see if it helps!
There are many Pomodoro timers available online. Many of them, including Pomofocus, will even provide you with reports and statistics so that you can track how you’re doing on a day-to-day, or week-to-week basis. If you’re feeling particularly minimalistic, you can even use a stopwatch on your phone.
You can even play around with different time intervals, and change up the activities you do in your breaks to see what works best for you. Like many things in our work lives, it’s all about trial and error!