Have you ever postponed a task, way too many times, because you did not feel like doing it? Have you ever felt that your motivation was so low that you couldn’t achieve anything? I have being in this situation way too often, so I found a special trick to curb procrastination and boost my motivation, in just 25 minutes! It is called the Pomodoro Technique.
Simplest productivity method
The Pomodoro Technique has been developed by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s. The concept is simple. You set a timer for 25 minutes and you work on a task, without distractions, until the timer goes off. I use this technique every time I find myself procrastinating on a task. Knowing that I will only spend 25 minutes on the task motivates me to accomplish the most of it during that time. When the 25 minutes is up, I get a 5 minutes break and do something rewarding, like reading a blog article on my favorite topics. After four 25 minutes intervals, take a 15 to 30 minutes break. Those 25 minutes chunks are called pomodoro, which is Italian for… tomato! Cirillo named the technique after the tomato-shaped timer he used as a university student. The Pomodoro technique is one of the simplest productivity methods I know. It is easy to implement and it has a huge impact on the amount of work I can produce in a single day.
“The Pomodoro Technique is […] a revolutionary time management system, it is at once deceptively simple to learn and life-changing to use.” – Francesco Cirillo
Increase your focus
The main advantage of the Pomodoro Technique is to allow you to focus on a single task without distraction. When you think of a distraction, instead of opening Facebook, you write it down on a piece of paper. The purist users of the Pomodoro technique say that, if you get distracted while working, such as answering a phone call, you reset your timer. You have to really put all your energies on the current task. In my opinion, the idea that I get a 5 minutes break when I’m finished increases my motivation to turn off Facebook while I work. After all, 25 minutes is not a lot! But you’d be surprised how much you can actually get accomplished in such a short amount of time!
Also, the Pomodoro Technique increases your mental agility by allowing you to rest properly between tasks. It reduces the risks of exhaustion and keeps your mind alert.
How I use the Pomodoro technique
I do not use the Pomodoro Technique everyday. The way I use this productivity method is either to motivate me to work on a task I do not enjoy, or to split bigger tasks in smaller chunks and make sure I get time to rest in between.
When I tend to procrastinate on tasks I do not feel like doing, I choose one of those tasks and set my timer. Usually, to confirm Parkinson’s law, I will be able to complete the task within 25 minutes. And then I get the 5 minutes break as a reward.
When I have to work on a bigger project, one that would take half a day or more to complete, I will split the time needed in Pomodoros. Taking a few breaks here and there beats exhaustion and refreshes my mind.
Sometimes, I feel like I need a longer focus bloc, when writing an important document, and getting a break in the middle of the task would distract me instead of helping me. In those situations, I set my timer for a longer period, usually 50 minutes. The longest tasks can get done in a very focused bloc of time. I then get a 10 minutes break.
The apps I use
There are many apps you can use with the Pomodoro Technique. But a simple timer on your phone can do the work. There are 2 timers I personally use and both are free. You can use them directly in your browser. The first one is Tomato Timer, a basic timer, with a 25 minutes, 5 minutes and 10 minutes preset. The other one is Egg Timer. you simply enter the time you want to set, or you can use your adress bar to enter the duration directly, e.g. http://www.e.ggtimer.com/25minutes or http://www.e.ggtimer.com/5minutes. I bookmarked 5, 10, 25 and 50 minutes, so I can access them very quickly.
You can also use apps to block distractions, such as Cold Turkey, a free Windows application, or Stay Focusd, a Chrome extension.
The Pomodoro Technique contributes to my productive Happiness because it helps me overcome procrastination, allows me to get a reward, reading my favorite blog, or checking social media, for every daunting task I do not feel like doing. When I’m not procastinating, I feel more productive and that increases my confidence and my self-esteem. I get those pesky tasks done, I can check them off my to-do list and I have fun doing them. The Pomodoro technique might be the easiest productivity method, but it is the one that has the biggest impact in my day to day work life.
Have you tried the Pomodoro Technique? Have you found it useful? What are your tips to curb procrastination? Let me know in the comments below!