The Pomodoro Technique

Tomato

It has been three weeks since I quit tracking everything I did.

At the end of that post, I mentioned that I would try out a few methods of tracking the hours that I work.

I did. And the one that has been working really well is called The Pomodoro Technique (copyright, trademark, etc.).

I thought it was gimmicky at first. A tomato timer? Really?

But I gave it a shot. And I am very glad that I did.

These 25 minute pomodoros have done much more for my productivity than the 3 months of efficiency tracking I did before.

And I guess naming it after a tomato is somewhat gimmicky after all. But the name of the technique really has nothing to do with the actual method or the effectiveness of it.

The book is free. So, give it a read because my summary will not do it justice.

The gist is that you sit down to work for 25 minutes and you refuse to be interrupted during those 25 minutes. You then take a 3-5 minute break. You then repeat this 25 minutes work / 5 minutes break segmentation of time (a pomodoro) 3 more times. After that, you break for 15-30 minutes.

And repeat.

Refusing interruption means not allowing yourself to be interrupted by external sources and internal sources. If someone comes by and wants to chat, politely ask them if you can talk with them in a few minutes. Or if you feel the sudden urge to browse youtube because you have this song stuck in your head, you do not allow yourself to browse youtube.

Since a pomodoro is only 25 minutes, it is easy to tell yourself that you can get to that one distraction once the pomodoro is up. It will only be a few minutes.

The Pomodoro Technique not only helps beat procrastination, it helps with task tracking and estimating.

I have been keeping track of my pomodoros within a Google Spreadsheet. In the book, the author says to write down what you want to accomplish each day. For every pomodoro you do that is dedicated to that task, you put an “X” next to that task. The book also says that if a task is lasting more than 5-7 pomodoros, then you need to break the task down into smaller chunks.

After a day of work, you end up with a list of specific, focused tasks that you worked on and how much time you spent on each one. You can use this information to estimate how long it is going to take you to complete similar tasks in the future.

Overall, the Pomodoro Technique is an effective tool in fighting procrastination, staying focused on daily tasks and keeping track of the work you do. Check it out.

Photo courtesy of photon ℽ 

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