As if tomatoes don’t have enough energizing benefits, they can also make us more productive. Co-founder of recruitment platform Power to Fly Katharine Zaleski uses the Pomodoro Technique to be productive with long-haul work. Work Psychologist Ellen Bard relies on Pomodoro to maximize her morning productivity when her energy is best. So, what's behind this long-time tomato-loving technique that so many leaders use to be productive? Here’s a step-by-step guide:
What’s the Pomodoro Technique?
The Pomodoro Technique breaks tasks into short 25-minute intervals called pomodoros. The name comes from a tomato-shaped kitchen timer that was developed in the late 1980s.
How does Pomodoro work?
Follow these steps for each task to be completed during a work day:
- Decide on a device to time your work, like your phone or computer clock.
- Set the timer for 25 minutes for your first task. If, for example, you’re starting with emails for the day, see what you can get through in 15 minutes. If you’re starting with a task that you anticipate will take an hour then set the timer for 25 minutes to start.
- Work on the task until the timer buzzes, and then take a five-to-10 minute break. Set the timer again for 25 minutes.
- If your task only took 25 minutes, then put a checkmark on a piece of paper, and start the timer again for a new task.
How will Pomodoro help me?
- Concentrate your time on the most important tasks that need to be done
- Become aware of how much time you save when you’re not checking notifications, email, or open tabs
Focus your mind on one task
- Work in time increments that your brain can handle, which is often no more than 45 minutes of straight work
Become more organized
- Learn to prioritize what work needs to be done each day and week in order to achieve project goals
What could I use Pomodoro for?
Pomodoro can be effective for both short and long-haul tasks. Here are two examples to try:
Make morning emails more efficient
To start, set a timer for emails to see how many replies you can get through in 25 minutes. If you think this is too much time then set the timer for 15 minutes. You’ll pick up on any bad time management habits when you’re being timed (ahem, social media notifications).
Make long-haul work or days more productive
For Zaleski, the Pomodoro recently became helpful for long stretches of work. She uses the technique to plan out her entire day, and creates breaks like a five-minute walk, to clear her head and remain focused on what needs to be done.
What outcomes can I expect?
- Determine how much time you’re spending on daily tasks to become more efficient. Bard says that the more you pay attention to yourself, the better you’ll understand your best way to work.
- Become more aware of the unproductive “stuff” that isn’t helping you get your real work done. Bard adds, “I recommend people turn their WiFi off. I don't turn my WiFi on in the morning until I’m done my morning routine, because as soon as I do, I am sucked into other people's priorities.”
- Become more efficient with daily tasks to create more time to achieve weekly and monthly goals.
Are you a Pomodoro expert? Tell us about your experiences using the Pomodoro technique or share other productivity techniques that work for you.