Have you heard of the Pomodoro Technique? If you hoped it has something to do with pizza you’re about to be disappointed…

The technique is a time-management method developed in the 1980’s (such a good decade. Big hair. Shoulder pads. Indiana Jones. Blade Runner. The Princess Bride!) and is named after the tomato-shaped timer that the inventor used as a student.

I’d heard of the technique but not tried it because I thought I was disciplined enough with my time. Let’s face it. I thought I knew better!

 

So I gave it a go…

 

Wow! What a difference

 

I now take more breaks, which I’d sometimes skip before. As a result I’m much more focused especially if my breaks are away from my laptop. I make a cup of tea, stretch or go outside and smell the roses.

 

I also like racing the clock to get a task done. I’m a competitive gal! I’m finding that the quality of my work doesn’t suffer because of the clock ticking, rather I’m super focused on exactly what I want to achieve in each of the Pomodoro’s.

 

Ignoring distractions is also easier. In the past I’d leave my email open; occasionally Facebook, but now I close them all. My only focus is my goal, plus I know that in 25 minutes I’ll be having a break so I can check emails etc then. I also keep a notepad nearby to write down any unrelated tasks that pop into your head (feed the cat!).

 

The idea behind the technique is to use a timer to break down your work into intervals, separated by short breaks. The technique is based on the premise that frequent breaks improve mental agility.

 

The usual method is to do a Pomodoro of 25 minutes then take a 5 minute break. Have a play around with the timing and see what suits you.

 

You then do 3-4 Pomodoros before taking a longer break.

 

Using the Pomodoro technique reminds me of the focus that I had while working as a corporate lawyer. In that world I was acutely aware of how many 6 minute units I needed to record to reach my budget so I was VERY focused.

 

You can use a physical timer (phone, kitchen timer) if you have one. I like to use an online timer. Here are some options for you:

Tomato Timer

Workburst for Mac

Focus Booster

Let me know how you find using the technique.

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