You’ve no doubt heard of The Pomodoro Technique – an image of tomatoes may even spring to mind. But how can it really help your productivity in your business? And what are the benefits of using it as a time management tool?
Well, I’m glad you asked.
For the past 3 months, I’ve used The Pomodoro Technique every day, across all aspects of work. From writing my book, my blog posts (including this one) and creating content for clients, it’s been a staple part of my day.
In fact, it’s been so successful as a productivity tool I feel a little evangelical about it.
So much so, I want to share not only what The Pomodoro Technique is, but why it will be so useful to you when running your business.
What is the Pomodoro Technique?
A simple, yet effective time management tool, The Pomodoro Technique is the brainchild of Francesco Cirillo, an Italian productivity expert.
Back when he was a university student, Francesco wanted to figure out a way to get more things done in less time. So he decided, using his kitchen timer, to experiment with efficiency and productivity during set periods of time.
Through trial and error, he found he was most productive when working for 25 minutes at a time – enabling him to really focus on the task at hand. He then had a 5-minute break to rest and refresh, before starting the process again.
And so, The Pomodoro Technique was born.
But why Pomodoro? Well, his kitchen timer was shaped like a tomato and Francesco is Italian, so… voila!
Or, as Francesco probably said, ‘Ecco!’
How to use The Pomodoro Technique
Pomodoro is appealing due to its simplicity. It’s designed to make any task seem more manageable and less daunting.
So how do you do it?
Choose a task you’d like to get done – whether it’s social media scheduling or prep for a client, find something you know needs your attention. Maybe something you’ve been putting off for a while…
Set your timer for 25 minutes and begin your task. Turn off anything that may distract you, such as notifications or your partner asking about dinner
Work until the timer rings – you’ve just completed your first Pomodoro
Put a tick on a sheet of paper to record your Pomodoro
Take a short break of 5 minutes – walk around if you can, grab a glass of water/coffee/gin etc.
Repeat the process
For every four Pomodoros, take a longer break of 25-30 minutes.
As those annoying TV meerkats would say, ‘Simples!’
How can The Pomodoro Technique help you in your business?
It’s a simple system, you’ll have to agree. But don’t be put off by that. Often, the best things are. It’s the benefits that will entice you to try it, so let’s explore these further.
Tracking your time enables you to work out how long a certain task takes you – you can then plan more productively in the future. Some people plan tasks by the number of Pomodoros it will take, rather than the number of minutes
You can use the time at the beginning/end of each Pomodoro as time for reflection and review. Doing this, however, ate into my time blocks too greedily, so I opted to do it just before/after the longer break instead
If you get to the end of your Pomodoros and the task still isn’t complete, Cirillo urges you to continue, rather than moving on. The more you use the technique, the better you’ll become at predicting how long a task will take
If you have a team around you, use the Pomodoro Technique during meetings to keep from veering off-topic. People always appreciate efficiency as it shows you value their time
Completing a task you’ve been putting off for ages, just by using this productivity tool, is really rewarding. But so is getting tasks done efficiently on a regular basis – you’ll feel so accomplished!
By proxy, the more efficient you are, the more time you’ll have to do things other than work! As you know, I’m all about getting a good balance and this is really important to me, as I know it is to you.
Timings can be flexible – if you feel like you want to get your teeth into a meatier task, you can use the 50/10 approach. Working for 50 minutes and then resting for 10. It’s completely up to you.
You’ll find a number of apps to use with the timer pre-programmed in, which is helpful. You can even buy a traditional, tomato-shaped kitchen timer from The Pomodoro website. But the best bit for me? The Harry Potter-themed timers on YouTube.
Francesco Cirillo has created a simple technique that can boost your productivity rate off the charts – it has for me.
And as he says, ‘Work with time, instead of struggling against it.’
Wise words, Francesco, wise words.
So give The Pomodoro Technique a go – you’ll be amazed by the results.