While there are many methods and techniques that claim to optimize time and increase productivity, few are as easy to use as the Pomodoro Technique. This technique was created in the 1980s by the Italian Francesco Cirillo, and many people have benefited from it.
We’ve all started a project full of enthusiasm, only to find out it was doomed to fail before we could finish it. In most cases, this is due to a lack of planning. In other words, we fail to organize the tasks we need to complete and the time we need to complete them.
The Pomodoro technique serves to optimize time management and does this mainly by using … a clock. Work is broken up into periods of time called ‘pomodoros’. A pomodoro equals twenty-five minutes of undisturbed work and five minutes of rest.
The Scientific Basis of the Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro technique has a scientific basis. Advanced studies confirm that the human brain can only really concentrate for twenty-five minutes on average. From that point on, the brain ‘disconnects’, or becomes distracted, and performance diminishes visibly.
A five-minute break is therefore an attempt to give the brain a rest by focusing on an activity other than the one you were just doing. This way you will be able to perform optimally and consistently when you get back to the original task. For clarification, it is good to know that this break should be increased to twenty minutes after every four consecutive pomodoros.
It is important to create a basic plan for the work you intend to perform. Making a list of tasks to complete should be part of this plan. Then create a hierarchy in which you determine the importance of each task or establish a different logical order to determine the execution of your tasks. You should apply this to both daily activities and longer term activities.
What’s interesting is that by applying this method, you can see exactly how many pomodoros each task requires. This may not seem like a big deal, but it is. Over time, you can detect periods of empty time. For example, you will notice that a task that previously cost you five pomodoros could actually have been completed in four pomodoros.
This means that while applying this technique you can not only optimize your time but also develop the skills to optimize your time even more. In fact, the Pomodoro Technique has motivated the creation of software and applications for different platforms and devices.
While the method was originally designed for individual advancement, it has proven over time to be just as effective when applied in groups. Technology not only provides the satisfaction of having accomplished something, it also promotes the use of technology in its simplest form: paper, a pencil and a clock.
To apply the Pomodoro Technique, simply follow these steps:
- Make a list of tasks and choose the next task you want to complete.
- Set an alarm for twenty-five minutes (one pomodoro).
- Then fully focus on your task and work continuously for twenty-five minutes.
- When the time is up, put a checkmark next to the task.
- Take a five minute break.
- Go back to work for twenty-five minutes, check the box again, take another five-minute break, and so on until the task is completed.
- Every time you finish four pomodoros, take a twenty minute break
Tricks to Improve the Pomodoro Technique
It is important to focus as much as you can on the task you are completing during each pomodoro. It is important to shield yourself from any distractions.
Knowing how much pomodoros it costs to complete each task is extremely helpful as it allows you to manage your time more efficiently and have more time to complete other activities.
Over time, and especially when you complete similar tasks, you can make it a goal to complete them in less time or to improve their quality so that you can be more efficient and enjoy more free time.
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