take a minute

squash distractions with the pomodoro tomato method
19 Nov 2020
by Sam

do you find it harder to be productive when the temperature drops and the days are darker?  If so, you’re not alone.

In normal working conditions half of workers; say that winter has a negative effect on their mood and productivity and that figure is expected to be much higher this year with the worries of coronavirus.

so how do we stay motivated and productive using what we already have available?

Millions of people have been using a simple time management system, known as the Pomodoro technique, to increase their productivity with little more than a pen, a piece of paper and a kitchen timer. 

This deceptively simple yet effective method balances intense work periods of 25 minutes (known as a ‘pomodoro’) with 5 minute breaks. The basic premise being to “work shorter and smarter”.

six steps to using the pomodoro technique today:

1) Write down the task you want to achieve 

2) Divide the task into 4 sessions and give yourself an objective for each

3) Set a timer to 25 minutes ( = 1 pomodoro) using a basic kitchen timer or a dedicated app*

4) Close all other windows on your desktop, silence your phone or put it in your techtimeout box (from our 02 November post) and focus entirely on this task

5) When the time is up,  tick off your objective for that session and take a 5 minute break (make a drink, pet the dog, look out the window etc)

6) After 4 pomodoros take a longer more restorative 20-30 minute break (eat lunch, go for a walk, do yoga, call a friend etc). Repeat the cycle with a new task.

why is each pomodoro 25 minutes?

For most people 25 minutes working followed by a 5 minute break is long enough to complete focused tasks. If you are a person who is easily distracted you may want to begin working in 15 minute units.  At techtimeout some of us break it into longer 45 minute units. It’s a very personal decision.

what about distractions?

Each chunk of time has to be completed. If a colleague distracts you mid-session you’ll either have to end that session (starting a new one later) or postpone the distraction until the session is over. This is because it takes around 23 minutes3 to refocus after an interruption.

final tips

Often getting started is the hardest part with new time management methods. You should also consider explaining this new way of working to your colleagues so that they don’t expect instant replies to emails and phone calls.

Finally, be patient. It takes time to get the most out of any new technique.

Give it a go and let us know how you get on!

*techtimeout will soon be releasing an interactive timer based on Pomodoro principles. Check back soon to keep up to date.

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Creator of the Pomodoro technique

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