In today’s world, it is increasingly difficult to perform activities at work without being distracted. Whatsapp messages, social media notifications, e-mails, colleagues’ interventions, and other things seem to make it impossible to fully and absolutely focus on something specific. Still, there is a tool that can help you solve this problem: the pomodoro technique !
What is pomodoro technique?
Pomodoro technique is a technique used to increase productivity that consists of dedicating total focus to an activity for 25 uninterrupted minutes, followed by an interval of 5 minutes.
It was developed by the Italian university student Francesco Cirillo, who sought to optimize the productivity of his studies. Using a tomato-shaped kitchen timer (in Italian, pomodoro ) he created the method of completely focusing on studies during the 25 minutes timed by the timer, not diverting attention to any type of distraction.
And does the technique work?
Yes . After noticing an improvement in productivity with the pomodoto technique , he released it to the world.
According to Gloria Mark, a professor at the University of California, Irvine, the number of hours worked is not as important as the number of minutes worked. When timing the routines of several employees, she realized an average of just three minutes of uninterrupted work. 44% of the time, the interruption is done by itself, spontaneously, for things like checking social networks, e-mail, etc.
Therefore, the pomodoro technique prevents these distractions from causing a drop in your productivity and helps you to better manage your time, avoiding that situation where the end of the day arrives and you realize that you were unable to do everything you intended.
How it works?
The operation of the pomodoro technique is very simple. 25 minutes are dedicated to carrying out a specific task with full focus . Then, there is a 5-minute break to rest , after all, uninterrupted work would cause an exhaustion due to attention fatigue .
This break should not be used to carry out work activities or to think about what has been done, but rather for leisure, looking at your messages, having a coffee, or solving something that would normally have interrupted the progress of your work. After that pause, another pomodoro begins, that is, another 25 minutes of focus.
Every four pomodoros, the pause should be longer (15 to 30 minutes).
How to put it into practice?
Putting the pomodoro technique into practice is easier than it looks . First, you need to create a task list . For each activity, the ideal is that you stipulate the time that will be necessary for its completion. For example: the preparation of a report x may require 4 pomodoros, while oy, only 2.
Then, just set a timer to let you know after 25 minutes. If, eventually, you are interrupted in the middle of a pomodoro by an email or message, for example, the ideal is to ignore them . Storing your phone in your bag can be a good solution. If the interruption comes from a co-worker, for example, explain the situation and ask to resolve the problem later. Here, it is valid to make a sign saying that you are making a pomodoro and place it on your table, so that your colleagues know and do not disturb you.
If you really need to interrupt the pomodoro to resolve something urgent, it must be considered null and, when resuming your activities, you must restart the timer .
The pomodoro technique, if applied correctly, requires that you take frequent breaks to recharge your energies and rest your mind, that is, breaks are mandatory. When a pomodoro comes to an end, you cannot continue working , even for just a few more minutes to finish an activity; you need to rest. The goal is that, with breaks, you remain energetic and ready for another cycle of total focus.
How do I know if I can apply this technique to my work?
Of course, there is no magic productivity formula for every job in the world. If, in your work, you need to respond immediately to calls and emails, for example, it is very difficult for you to successfully apply the pomodoro technique.
In addition, each individual has their own preferences and productivity techniques. For some, the pomodoro technique can “plaster” the activities too much, which can convey a feeling of mechanical and overly controlled work, causing some anxiety and, consequently, a drop in productivity. In other words: the opposite effect of the desired one.
It is also worth remembering that it can cause some strangeness in the beginning. You may not be used to going without checking your emails, your whatsapp, or leaving your phone in silent mode, and it may take several days to get used to. Despite this, if the technique becomes inherent to your working method , you will be able to use it without problems.
In addition, you do not need to apply the pomodoro technique throughout your workday and every day. You can choose specific tasks that you know will be difficult to focus on, or those that you have been procrastinating to complete. And, other tasks that are not usually interrupted or do not require as much concentration, you can use your traditional methods.
You also don’t need to get stuck at 25 minutes. Depending on the type of work you do, or your personal ability, you may feel the need to increase or decrease the time for pomodoros and breaks.
There are several applications that can help you to use the pomodoro technique. Some prefer to use the phone’s native stopwatch, but some specific apps have interesting features, such as the possibility to create task lists and help with time management . Some apps like Tomato Time, Pomodoro Time, Focus Keeper, etc., can do the job.
The Artia is also a very functional tool, especially when demand for more complex features. The “My Day” window of the software has a specific timer for the pomodoro technique and automatically points the hours worked in the activity log. Just switch from the traditional “to-do” mode to the “pomodoro mode”. In the activities menu, the item “Pomodoro” shows the statistics about the pomodoros executed in each activity.