Become a productive workhorse using the Pomodoro Technique.

Ever had the feeling at the end of your workday you’ve been busy with a lot of things but didn’t really accomplish anything?
During such a day you’ve probably been doing a lot of multitasking. While you set out to to complete a task, people are walking in for a chat, you’re answering the telephone, replying emails, having to go to a meeting and basically have a lot of distractions.

Studies have shown that multitasking hurt your IQ more than smoking marijuana. In his book Quality Software Management: Systems Thinking, Gerald M. Weinberg states that 20% of time is lost due to switching a task. Ilya Pozin wrote a nice article on Inc.com about 7 things Highly Productive People do:

  • Work backwards from goals to milestones to tasks.
  • Stop multi-tasking.
  • Be militant about eliminating distractions.
  • Schedule your email. 
  • Use the phone.
  • Work on your own agenda. 
  • Work in 60 to 90 minute intervals.

Pratically all of the principles marked bold can be achieved using the The Pomodoro Technique®.  The Pomodoro Technique is a time management system that closely resembles Kanban. Basically, you list the tasks you are about to achieve, limit your work in progress by 1 at a time and get things done through a nice ‘One Piece Flow’.

Here’s a basic scheme how the process works:

 

  1. Choose a task to be accomplished
  2. Set the Pomodoro to 25 minutes (the Pomodoro is the timer)
  3. Work on the task until the Pomodoro rings, then put a check on your sheet of paper
  4. Take a short break (5 minutes is OK)
  5. Every 4 Pomodoros take a longer break

Personally I use a Pomodoro app for my Android phone calles “Pomodroid“. When I started using this technique, I was quite shocked how challenging it sometimes was to work for 25 minutes without distractions. I found that turning the ticking-sound of the app on, helped me to remind myself to stay focussed.

Once I got more experienced using this technique, it became more easy to concentrate, eliminate distractions,  minimizing multitasking and getting things done. For a lot of tasks, I’m able to estimate how many pomodoro’s it takes to finish a task.

Want to know more? Visit the Pomodoro Technique website and let me know how this technique has helped you.

One comment

  1. Back in 2013, I was (as a developer) quite serious about the Pomodoro technique. I even made my own timer, because none of the existing was good enough for me. Since then, it has evolved into complex productivity app for freelancers and students. Try it if interested – it’s still the most advanced pomodoro timer on the interwebz. It’s called Tomatoid [https://www.tomatoid.com]

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