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The Pomodoro Technique; Your Best New Trick to Being More Productive

by: John Coburn
The Pomodoro Technique; Your Best New Trick to Being More Productive
Our brains can stay focused for longer if we work in sprints.

There are a myriad of tips, tricks, and techniques to being more productive, but what if you don’t have time to dig into them all?

No worries. We’ve got you covered.

What is the pomodoro technique?

“Pomodoro” is Italian for tomato, and the technique’s name originated from Italian University studient Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. Essentially, he was using a Pomodoro Timer in 25 minute intervals to pace his studying sessions.

This lent to the modern day technique. The aim of the pomodoro technique is to maximize one’s focus over brief periods of time, while allowing the brain time to refocus on what’s important.

It’s broken down to this ratio

  • 25 minutes of HIGHLY focused work and problem solving
  • 5 minutes of relaxed contemplation.

So how does it work?

Before beginning it is CRUCIAL that you get rid of all distractions. Turning off your phone, stepping into a cafe or similar environment, plugging in some ambient music, and zoning in on your work is absolutely necessary.

During the 25 minute interval, you’ll do the most focus-required work. This can include anything from writing a blog post to writing lines of code, but the principle remains the same.

Depending on your preferred length of work, you can increase the total amount of time that you’re spending on focused work, but it’s also very important that you increase the amount of rest that you are getting in-between.

It’s a lot like working out a muscle. If you put it under strain for too long without breaks for micro-recovery, you won’t be able sustain your effort for more than a couple hours. Trying to force productivity at this point can lead to stress, and a lack of focus.

How can You use it?

There are two types of pomodoro timer; digital and physical. Between the two, there are advantages and disadvantages.

Digital

Advantages

  • Highly portable – there are applications for both your phone and laptop, meaning that the timer can go with you to your favourite cafe with ease
  • Headphones – when keeping focused in crowded places, it’s nice to know that only you’ll hear the timer go off
  • They can have to-do lists and productivity trackers built in to maximize their effectiveness.

Disadvantages

  • Can increase the temptation to use you phone or computer because the application is built-in to where you spend a lot of your focus

Physical

Advantages

  • Satisfying to use – you can reach over and give it a good crank to start your cycle of focus.
  • Can help signal that it’s time to get down to business.

Disadvantages

  • They can be bulky – depending on the size you get, it’s hard to carry in your pockets or bags.
  • They cost more
  • If you’re in public, and the alarm goes off, you can definitely expect to get some funny looks

All in all, it is a very powerful technique, and is very accessible. If you’d prefer to do it manually, you can set a stove timer, a phone timer, or anything else that you know will consistently let you know how long you’ve been working for.

What you can do now

  • Consider the type of timer you’d like to use
  • Do some quick research on the best apps or physical products
  • Choose one, and reach new levels of focus in your day to day.

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