by Ryan H. Law
It’s been said that distractions kill productivity. I don’t know about you, but I struggle with almost constant distractions – e-mail, Slack notifications, LinkedIn notifications, calendar reminders, and the list goes on.
I’m also frequently working at home, and long with children being around, there are all the other things that need to be done around the home (dishes, laundry, etc.).
How do we deal with these distractions and still get things done? One way that I have found to be effective is the Pomodoro Technique.
What is the Pomodoro Technique?
The Pomodoro Technique was created by Francesco Cirillo, who developed the idea while he was a student. Cirillo was struggling with distractions and decided to commit to 10-minute sessions of straight study time, which he found to be extremely effective. He tracked his time on a timer shaped like a tomato. Pomodoro is Italian for tomato, hence the name.
He refined the concept further and taught the technique to others, and now millions of people use it to be increase productivity.
The Pomodoro technique is simple:
- Choose a task.
- Set a timer for 25-minutes.
- Work on the task until the timer goes off.
- Take a short break — around 5-minutes.
- During the 5-minute break get up, get some water, stretch, walk around, and get a healthy snack. Stay off your phone.
- Every 3-4 Pomodoros (or 3-4 work periods of 25 minutes), take a longer break — typically between 15-30 minutes.
A few important points:
- Shut off all distractions. Put your phone on airplane mode or shut it off completely.
- The amount of time is flexible. Some do 15, 18, 25, 30, or even 60 minute sessions.
- Track and mark down the number of Pomodoros you do.
- While there are apps you can use to track the time, a number of people swear by the ticking of a real timer. The ticking tells your brain that it is time to focus. You won’t notice the ticking after a short time.
- This technique works in all types of areas including studying, writing, cleaning, etc.
- You can set up several Pomodoros to check and answer e-mails.
What are the benefits of the Pomodoro Technique?
Many users claim better focus, increased productivity, improving health and mood, keeping motivated, and reducing stress1.
In addition, short breaks, which are built into the Pomodoro Technique, have actually been shown to increase productivity2.
If you are not used to uninterrupted work/study time, it may take some time to work up to 4 or more full Pomodoros. Start with one Pomodoro of 25-minutes then you can work up to longer periods.
- Do one Pomodoro today. Pick a task and focus for 25-minutes.
REFERENCES AND RESOURCES
1. The Accidental Benefits of the Pomodoro Technique
5 Benefits Of Pomodoro Technique
2. Brief diversions vastly improve focus, researchers find
All images in this post are licensed by Ingram Image – Stock Photo Secrets (AFF)
Syble Solomon says
This is super advice and it works! It’s how I got through grad school but that was before it had a great name like the Pomodoro Technique! 5 minute reinforcement breaks every half hour fueled by M&Ms. Another suggestion is that if there is something you have to do at a certain time, set your alarm so you don’t get distracted keeping track of your time. And for people who procrastinate (which can happen along with getting distracted or exist by itself), Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy has great ways to get you on track. It’s a book and is on youtube.