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What is the Pomodoro Technique?
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management solution developed by student Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s. The technique is based on numerous time
intervals spread throughout the day and is named after the Italian word for "tomato," in reference to the tomato-shaped kitchen timer that Cirillo himself used in perfecting his time management method.
The Pomodoro technique was designed to be easy to use, yet provide great benefits in terms of productivity. The basic structure of the Pomodoro technique is as follows:
Put a goal/task on your to-do list that you want to get done.
Set your Pomodoro timer.
Work during the set amount of time
When the timer rings, mark your work interval with a check mark.
Take a 5-minute break after each work session.
After the fourth session, take a longer 15-30 minute break.
Reset your timer and start the process over again
What is a Pomodoro?
Pomodoro is not only the name for Cirillo's tomato timer, but it's also the name for the individual time segments, which are 25 minutes according to the original technique. So the idea is: work a 25-minute Pomodoro and then take a short break. After four pomodoros in a row, you can take a longer break. Once you get used to working in 25-minute increments and improving your concentration, you can stretch the Pomodoros to 60-90 minutes at a time. Just make sure to get up and move around and not sit for too long!
Modern Pomodoro Methods
While Cirillo's classic method required a special timer - a pomodoro timer for the oven - you can also use your phone alarm. It's also easy to schedule your pomodoros with an app. Use an oven timer if you like. But remember that apps can offer handy extras, like:
Reports and trackers
Leaderboards for competitions - great for teams
Phone and desktop integration
Restricting social media use, blocking calls and other options to increase focus
How to apply the Pomodoro technique in your office
Modern offices are more open than ever when it comes to maximizing efficiency and company culture. The Pomodoro Technique can help improve your workspace and company culture, and truly motivate your team. The Pomodoro Technique is ideal for freelancers and remote teams who want to focus on their tasks and stay in the "zone." And if you want to make sure your team is focused on a single task, encourage them to participate in group Pomodoros. Shared work and break times can go a long way to making your team feel united, even if they are miles apart.
By rewarding small blocks of work with short but refreshing breaks - and with a longer break to look forward to - the Pomodoro technique can be satisfying for achieving small goals. The all-important coffee and lunch breaks during the day are actively encouraged in the Pomodoro structure to make work time more focused and also rewarding.
While the Pomodoro technique is not for everyone, especially those who already know about time management, it's a valuable tool when your team really needs to get things done, like when working agile and leading a sprint.
Pomodoros for future timing.
Once you and your team get used to the Pomodoro technique, you can easily calculate how many work sessions you need for future tasks. This can be a great way to plan your work week or month. Try to do the most important tasks in 25-minute chunks first thing in the morning to make sure your priorities are always taken care of, even if you do not need Pomodoro sessions for the rest of the day.
You may even want to implement a set Pomodoro session each week. Decide on the most popular time for your team to achieve goals and put it on the calendar as a fixed hour for using the Pomodoro method.
Alternatives to the Pomodoro Method
If you like the idea behind this method but can not imagine it working for your team, you can try different variations:
The Eisenhower Method
It can be used in conjunction with the Pomodoro Method to help you set your priorities. You can then tackle these tasks in pomodoros. In the Eisenhower method, you draw a grid with four boxes. The horizontal axis names one box "Urgent" and one "Not Urgent." The vertical axis names one box "Important" and one "Not Important," resulting in four boxes that make up a numbered to-do list:
Urgent and Important e.g. deadlines, project blockages etc.
Not urgent and important e.g. project planning
Not important and urgent, e.g. lunch with the team today
Not important and not urgent, e.g. a drink after work
Agile is a working methodology that can be adopted for full-time use, although it was designed for and is best adopted by programmers and developers. However, it is still useful for time management. The most interesting aspect comes in the form of "sprints". Sprints are a period of time when everyone pulls together to complete a specific task. In a sprint, members of different teams are asked to contribute their particular skills to a task, with the goal of achieving a fully recognized result by the end of the period.
The Pomodoro Method is highly customizable, so you can create the perfect time management tool for your team. Use the method to set a period of intense collaboration once a week, to encourage your team to complete tedious tasks, or to keep everyone on track for a deadline.
Let us say your team is working remotely and a whole new set of problems can derail your best efforts - think poor connections, outside interruptions, etc. With the Pomodoro technique, you can encourage your team to get to work for 25 minutes at a time, making progress in small but important ways.
By minimizing your time but maximizing your efficiency, you also do not have to worry about interruptions. With the Pomodoro technique, you can keep things short and sweet and stay on track.