The Pomodoro Technique

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One Unusual Productivity Time Hack

“What happens if you run a motor nonstop in scorching temperatures without taking a break?” That’s the question I asked a 30-year old young man as we talked about his ‘new norm’ of working from home. He has a high-stress job, manages several different representatives, and has to juggle the demands of corporate and keeping the troops happy.

What I suggested is a technique that runners call ‘intervals’. A period of intense effort followed by a short rest period. Productivity specialists call this the Pomodoro Technique. This method breaks down your work into 25 minutes, followed by a 5-minute break. After four of these periods (2 hours) you take a longer 15-20 minute break.  [ 25 minutes + 5 minus x 4 = 2 hours ].

Just as your vehicle’s engine runs on gasoline or diesel, the human brain is fueled by glucose.  Long periods of intense concentration without a break quickly deplete your energy source leaving you feeling frazzled. 

By the way, Pomodoro is Italian for tomato. Think of yourself slicing your workday into delicious and satisfying pieces. After all, you wouldn’t shove an entire Roma or Beefsteak tomato into your mouth.

Here are a few suggestions to help you get started:

  • Download a free Pomodoro timer to your phone
  • Begin with your most important tasks first then tackle the rest
  • Take a break, even if you’re not finished with your task
  • Avoid all distractions during your Pomodoro
  • If you have a long meeting take a 15-20 minute break afterward
  • You can complete more than one task during one Pomodoro (25 minutes)
  • Don’t fight the sense of urgency you may feel during your 25-minute‘ productivity sprints’
  • Use your 5-minute breaks to walk, get water, or use the restroom
  • Break larger more complex tasks into smaller Pomodoros
  • Bunch similar tasks together such as phone calls, emails,
  • An 8-hour workday has 16 pomodoros so count those tomatoes
  • Assign tasks the number of pomodoros they will take to complete

Come back to this blog post and comment on how the Pomodoro technique is working for you. Did your productivity increase? Did you love it? Hate it?

 

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