The Pomodoro Technique for getting stuff done

I love being productive when I'm working as you know and I use the "calendar blocking" technique to make appointments to get all my tasks done. Within those chunks of blocked time, I use another technique to make sure I'm actually getting the work done and it's called the Pomodoro Technique.

Developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s this technique is pretty low tech (yay) and is based around a kitchen timer (the original one being in the shape of a tomato, hence the name of the technique), a piece of paper and a pen.

How you do it

I know people who use the timer on their phone or one on the computer, but the low tech approach is really useful because you don't end up spending ages trying work out how to get the timer on your phone to work (anyone?). Also, I personally find the ticking down of my clockwork egg (the first timer I found), adds to the sense of urgency that the technique breeds.

  • Choose your task
  • Set your timer for 25 minutes
  • Work on the task until the bell rings
  • Make a check mark on your paper
  • Take a 5-minute break, move away from your desk, grab a drink, stretch
  • Set your timer for 25 minutes
  • Take the first couple of minutes to review what you did previously and then work until the bell goes
  • Repeat this until you have collected 4 check marks
  • Now take a 20-30 minute break away from your desk and work
  • Set your timer for 25 minutes and continue as above until your task is finished.
  • Take a break and move on to the next task.
As you get used to working with this technique you'll be able to estimate how long the task will take and then once you've factored in the breaks, how much time you'll need to block off to get the task finished.

The low tech-ness of the technique is what really appeals to me, and - as I say - the ticking of the timer really does encourage me along.

When I apply the technique to a whole work day I find I get much more done than if I don't use it, I work more efficiently and I get a real buzz if I beat the clock and then treat myself to some extra social media time or an extra break with the time saved.

this is a great, cheap and super-simple productivity tip to incorporate into your working day (and yes, I did write this post using my timer).

What are your favourite productivity tips? Share them in the comments below.


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