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An over thinker’s struggles with productivity are super real and I am a living advocate to this. A fun fact about me – I am known for staying in the planning phases of my all my projects without taking any action at all. Today I am sharing how The Pomodoro Technique helped me change this and how you can apply it in various areas of your life.
I usually start by planning out the complete process when I have a project at hand. I start with the implementation after the planning is done and as soon as my productive zone comes close, I get distracted. Now distractions can be anything from a phone call to hunger. Sometimes I randomly remember about not filling in my habit tracker and I feel like it needs to be done now. When I start working on my laptop, I suddenly remember that I have to download an episode of Blind-spot or else I will have nothing to watch at night. I hope you get the drill.
After I realized that I was getting nowhere and something needed to change. I started exploring books, blogs, podcasts and videos about productivity (wasted a whole week and fooled myself by believing that this was super productive). But some good things came out of it and I learned a bunch of new techniques. The Pomodoro technique is one of them which I read in the book by Francesco Cirillo. I will be sharing what the technique is and what its applications are.
What is the Pomodoro Technique
Pomodoro technique helps you get the task done in less time without exhausting yourself. It is a time management and productivity technique. The basic outline of this method consists of two principles
Work for 1 Pomodoro which is always of 25 minutes
Take a 5-minute break after each Pomodoro and a 20-minute break after every 4 pomodori
You need to follow a few rules to use this method effectively. I will summarize them here, but you can get a detailed idea in this book. The rules are –
You need to be distraction free for each Pomodoro. Do not engage in ‘pseudo productive task’ such as clearing your spam mail or going through your bills (unless that itself is the planned task). Your focus needs to be on the planned task itself.
There is no half Pomodoro and you cannot break it down into two parts. If you get distracted after 20 minutes, you need to start over and complete 25 minutes straight. Period.
Each Pomodoro has to be of 25 minutes. In case you complete your task in less than 25 minutes, review it until the time is up. If it is taking more time, schedule it for the next Pomodoro and take a 5-minute break.
This method will help you get more done in less time. If you are a geek like me, I have added the references that explain the science behind these specific time spans at the end of this post!
How to use the Pomodoro Technique?
You can have different approaches to the Pomodoro technique. I am sharing my process of implementing the Pomodoro technique.
The first step, as you must have guessed is planning. You need to know exactly what project you will be tackling and break it down into 25-minute tasks and decide on the flow. This will help you stay organized throughout the complete process.
I tend to get carried away with the planning process and that is why I use a very simple Pomodoro Planner. You can get your own copy of the Pomodoro Planner right here.
To start the implementation, you first need to take care of all the possible distractions that may come your way. Think of anything that may show up and decide how you will tackle it.
I usually eat something before starting out because hunger is my top most distraction. You should also consider putting your phone on a DND mode, asking your co-workers, parents, partner or roommate to keep you undistributed for 25 minutes. If distracting thoughts come up, have a notebook to jot them down and leave them there. Basically, do the prep work!
Now is the time to act my dear friend. Go straight in for 25 minutes and if remember rule number 2 and 3 and you should be fine. Great focus and determination are the only things you need in this step.
I love playing focus music on my calm app (which is totally free)! It works wonders in focusing my mind and getting quality work done.
Once you are done with a Pomodoro, take a break. Breaks are super important to keep your mind away from lethargy. Do something that takes like 5 minutes. I stretch, listen to music or tidy up my desk a bit. For the 20 minute breaks, I usually have food and watch FRIENDS. Do something relaxing l, that’s all.
Applications of the Pomodoro Technique
Pomodoro technique can be used by anyone and everyone for anything and everything. There are 2 areas where I myself have used it and I could think of a few more where this can be implemented. If you can think of any other areas where you have or want to implement this technique, share it in the comments section!
With loads of syllabus at hand and not a lot of time, I used the Pomodoro technique to plan my study time. I would take 2 subjects for a day, assign one chapter to one Pomodoro and get 10 chapters done in a day! You can use this technique in your own way to get those lessons done.
I was the worst human when it came to cleaning my house and decluttering my stuff without being overwhelmed. Usually, I would start with my living room and end up in my kitchen in less than 10 minutes. I would scroll Pinterest for hours just to get some inspiration. One fine day I planned my cleaning using Pomodoro technique and I got the whole thing done in half the time! I planned different sections of my house for each pomodori and I emerged as a winner in the end.
Some other applications the Pomodoro technique can be –
- Completing a research project
- Filming a video
- Packing for a vacation
- Writing a paper
If you can think of some other ways this technique can be used to make sure to drop it in the comments below! You can get a planner printable by clicking here. Be organized and get the method right and improve your efficiency.