In the late 1980s, an Italian programmer expert named Francesco Cirillo developed a time management method he called Pomodoro Technique (“pomodoro” is the Italian word for “tomato”). The underlying principle of the method is that frequent breaks can improve mental alertness.
For many, time is an enemy as they rush to complete various tasks and meet several deadlines. With the Pomodoro Technique, you learn to work with time, instead of fighting it. Also, it is very easy to learn the method.
To apply the Pomodoro technique, you only need 3 everyday things, namely: a mechanical timer , a piece of paper, and a pencil.
The 5 basic steps to implement the Pomodoro technique are:
1. Decide on the task you want done. The technique works on any task that requires your full concentration and undivided attention (especially the one you have been struggling to finish and never had time of doing so). This technique is an effective tool to achieve your goals. It will give you more time for brainstorming.
2. Set the timer to 25 minutes The physical act of winding up the timer reaffirms your determination to start the task. Make a firm commitment that you will devote the next 25 minutes on the task on hand. A definite timetable encourages you to complete a task within a set period of time. Throw yourself into doing the task without interruptions. A short 25-minute engrossment in a single task is a very achievable commitment. You have a 100% chance of accomplishing it, thus increasing your self-confidence every time.
3. Work on the task until the timer rings. The ticking sound of the timer in the background while you work is a powerful subconscious stimulus for you to keep working. It has a psychological affect on your focus and continuous flow of action. Many distracting thoughts and events may come up while you are at work. The Pomodoro Technique will help you log your distractions and put them in order according to their priority levels. Simply write down these distractions to be attended to later. Do not let them disrupt your concentration from what you are presently working on. This will train you how to handle the interruptions while staying focused on the task at hand.
4. Take a short break of 3 to 5 minutes when the timer rings announcing a break. Put a checkmark on a paper to mark the 25-minute you spend on a task without interruption. Congratulate yourself for having completed one “pomodoro task”. During the break, do some stretching and several deep breathings. Take a cup of your favourite coffee or chocolate drink to re-energize you.
5. Increase your breaks every four “25-minute pomodori” from 15 to 30 minutes. This time will give your brain enough time to absorb new information and refresh itself for the next batch of “pomodoro” sessions.
The Pomodoro Technique works on the principle that when taking short, scheduled breaks while working eliminates the feeling of being stretched and stressed. It will enable you to accurately predict how many Pomodoros (25-minute uninterrupted work) you will need to accomplish any task — a great way to manage your time!