What is the Pomodoro Technique?
Pomodoro is Italian for tomato, and the Pomodoro Technique is named after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer that inspired it. It is a simple method for organizing your time and helping you focus, so you can get more done.
You don't need a tomato-shaped timer. The timer on your phone will do. Or you could download an app (they exist!) or use this website.
If you want to try the Pomodoro Technique, just follow these 6 essential steps:
STEP #1: Choose a task that you need to get done.
From a homework assignment to cleaning your room, pick any job that needs your focused attention in order to get it done quickly.
STEP #2: Set your timer for 25 minutes.
Once the timer starts, you must work on the task WITHOUT INTERRUPTIONS. Put your phone away, turn off the TV, etc. and get to work. It's only 25 minutes. You can do it!
STEP #3: Keep working on the task until the timer goes off.
Stay focused on the task until the timer runs out. If you feel yourself losing focus, just remind yourself that you have less than 25 minutes to go, and you can stay on task for that long. If you think of something that you need to do, quickly write it down and then keep working on the task at hand. You can deal with it later.
STEP #4: Take a short break
When the timer goes off, take a 5-minute break. Grab a drink, do some stretches, grab a snack, whatever--just do something that takes you away from work. Remember a break should require little brain power. This is not a good time to respond to messages or try to squeeze in another quick task. It's also only a 5-minute break, so it is not a good time to start a video game or another highly entertaining activity that could keep you from getting back to work.
STEP #5: Set your timer for another 25 minutes and get back to work.
Whether you have to finish off the earlier task or plan to start something new, it is time to get back to work.
STEP #6: For every 4 work sessions, take a longer break.
You've worked hard. Your brain deserves a longer break. If you still have a lot of work to do, make this a 10-15 minute break. If you only have a little more left to do, your break can be about 20-30 minutes. Once you're finished your to do list, you can take as long a break as you would like.
How to Take the Pomodoro Technique to the Next Level:
- Make a To Do List before you start: Before you start the timer, make a list of what you need to get done. If some of your tasks will take longer than 25 minutes to complete, break them down into smaller components.
- Estimate the time needed for each activity: Beside each item on your list, write an estimate of how long you think the task will take. If you can get multiple tasks accomplished in 25-minutes, it will really help you feel more focused and motivated. If you use this technique a lot, you will start to get pretty good at estimating how long different types of tasks will take you.
- Eliminate possible interruptions and distractions: Start by telling yourself that those texts, emails, etc. can wait. Better yet, put your phone on Do Not Disturb, so you can use the timer without getting all the distracting notifications. Tell the people around you that you need to focus for 25 minutes and ask them not to interrupt you. Shut down anything else that might distract you while you work whether it's the playlist of your favourite songs that make you want to sing along or the YouTube videos that are always playing in the background.