Being productive, especially when working remotely where there are more possibilities for distraction, can be a real challenge. That is exactly why we decided to present an excellent way to do effective time management, maintain concentration and productivity at work: the Pomodoro Technique! Ready to learn about it and put it into practice?
How did the Pomodoro technique come about?
The Pomodoro technique was created by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. The story says Francesco was a university student with no motivation to study and decided to start using a stopwatch to divide his study time into shorter sessions. For 25 minutes he concentrated on his tasks without interruption. The technique was named Pomodoro because the stopwatch he used was shaped like a tomato, which is Italian for Pomodoro.
What does it consist of?
The time management technique consists of dividing our workflow into uninterrupted 25min sessions, which are followed by a 5min break. At the end of four 25min sessions, a longer break of 20 to 30 minutes is taken, as exemplified in the infographic below:
How does it work?
- List of tasks to be accomplished
Planning is key! Before you “get down to business” you should make a list of tasks that you need to complete during your work period/day. Take deadlines and priorities into account, i.e. the most important ones should come first, and keep expectations realistic.
- Put distractions aside
The smallest of distractions is capable of affecting our productivity in a negative way. Therefore, it’s important to reduce at least those that can be controlled, such as: keeping a tidy workspace, preferably in a private room; disabling unnecessary notifications on the cell phone and/or computer; and using noise-canceling headphones.
- Get to work!
Select a task from your list, while setting the timer for the first 25 minutes of uninterrupted work, and focus.
- First break
After the first work session, the chronometer beeps and a short break follows. Step away from your desk for 5 minutes, taking the opportunity to clear your head, stretch your legs, drink some coffee, or even sunbathe a bit. Even if you are in a high state of concentration, it is important to respect your breaks.
- Back to work
After the first break, you should return to the tasks at hand and repeat the cycle for three more sessions of 25min each.
- Long break
At the end of four sessions of 25min each, you can take a longer break, between 20 to 30 minutes.
- New cycle
Start another Pomodoros cycle.
What are its advantages?
Once you are comfortable with the technique, there are many improvements you may experience, of which we highlight
- Organization of your work
- Anxiety control
- Analyzing and understanding how long it takes to accomplish certain tasks
- A greater facility in stipulating deadlines
- Increased focus and concentration on the task at hand
- Increased motivation and willpower
- Increased awareness of decisions and sense of responsibility
- Strengthened determination to achieve goals
- Discovering what your main distractions are
- Reduced physical and mental exhaustion thanks to breaks
Tips for online tools
Nowadays you no longer need to stick to a kitchen timer like Cirillo did, as there are websites and online applications that can help you implement the technique in your daily life. Some examples:
Now that you know more about the Pomodoro technique and its advantages in maintaining focus and concentration on your tasks, how about starting to put it into practice in your daily life? Nevertheless, always keep in mind the following: although practical and efficient, it is not universal. The important thing is to find the best balance for you and make your own adaptations.
Written by Cristina Meireles
Cristina Meireles has a special interest in marketing, psychology, HR and Employer Branding. She has found in WFM a way to improve the quality of life and productivity of employees, being a strong ally in motivational campaigns. She has a degree in Languages and Business Relations from the Faculty of Arts of the University of Porto and is currently attending the masters in digital marketing from ISCAP.