Over the years I‘d heard about a time management system called the Pomodoro Technique. It seemed too simplistic, but as they say, the simplest things often work best.
I read the 2006 paper written by its creator, Francesco Cirilio, which explained the technique and as importantly, the psychology behind it. This revolutionary time management system is deceptively simple to learn, but life-changing when applied correctly. The Pomodoro Technique can be broken down into the following four basic principles.
1. Work with time, not against it: Many of us live as if time is our enemy. We race the clock to finish assignments and meet deadlines. The Pomodoro Technique teaches us to work with time, instead of struggling against it.
2. Eliminate burnout: Taking short, scheduled breaks while working eliminates the “running on fumes” feeling you get when you push yourself too hard. It’s impossible to overwork when you stick to the system.
3. Manage distractions: Phone calls, emails, Facebook messages, or suddenly realizing you need to change the oil in your car — distractions constantly bombard us. Usually, these distractions can wait. The Pomodoro Technique helps you log your distractions, and prioritize them for later.
4. Create a better work/life balance: Most of us are far too intimately acquainted with the guilt that comes from procrastination. If we haven’t had a productive day, we can’t seem to enjoy our free time. As a Pomodoro Master, you create an effective timetable and achieve your high-priority tasks, so you truly enjoy your time off.
“All this is great,” you may think, “but what do I actually do?”
1) Choose a task;
2) Set a timer for 25 minutes;
3) Work on your task until the timer rings, then put a checkmark on a tracker;
4) Take a five minute break (you just completed your first Pomodoro!); then
5) Repeat steps 1–4 three more times, followed by a 15 minute break