OK, the title of this post may have been a bit misleading, but it is also the truth. I’m in a bit of a rush today as external influences have piled up on top of me. This is only going to be a short article, but I don’t think it needs to be that long to show you this cool new technique.
In this article, I want to talk about a book called The Pomodoro Technique by Francesco Cirillo. I have been aware of this technique for a long time but had never performed any deeper research. Until now.
The Pomodoro Technique
Much like the idea of mini-habits, Cirillo suggests that when we attempt to take on big tasks we will procrastinate. We don’t do it by choice, but more out of a fear surrounding the task. It is the anticipation of having to complete such a complex, or time consuming, task that causes us to waste time on social media.
To attack these big tasks, Cirillo came up with the Pomodoro technique. Basically, you set a timer for twenty-five minutes and focus on one predetermined task during that time. When the timer goes off, take a five-minute break to drink some water and stretch your legs.
This works to keep you motivated and kick procrastination because the challenge reduces from having to complete a massive task, to only having to work on it for twenty-five minutes. It takes the daunting feeling away from it.
Also, because you’re taking breaks after each timer, you’re not overloading your mind. Giving it a chance to have a break allows you to attack the next Pomodori feeling refreshed.
Breaks Are Mandatory
Cirillo first off mentions the importance of seeing a pomodori through to the end. Don’t stop halfway through to reply to a text, check your emails or get some food. If you finish the task you had for that segment, review what you’ve accomplished and see if anything more can be done.
By maintaining the twenty-five minute slot, you train your mind to know that you must focus on your task, but only for the predetermined length of time.
That goes for taking a break. Not only do you need to take breaks to keep yourself fresh, but if you fail to take them after the timer goes off you’ll lose trust in yourself. Your mind will think, “Hang on, I didn’t only have to work for 25 minutes before. I’m going to have to do the whole thing. I’m scared!” and then you’ll turn on Facebook.
Adhere to the strict pattern of twenty-five minutes of focused work followed by a five minutes break and you will see your productivity soar.
As always, the book does present a few more interesting bits of information. I already utilise a similar system to Cirillo’s to-do list and inventory list, so I haven’t included that. I will definitely be implementing this in my work, I just hope I can find a silent timer that vibrates for when I’m in the library!