The Pomodoro technique for effective time management

Do you often feel stressed because you seem to always run out of time when working on a project or task? Do you consider yourself a great multitasker, though you realize at the end of the day that you haven’t fully completed a single task? Or maybe you’re one of those people who sit at their desks for long periods of time without taking a much-needed break.

If any of these scenarios represent you, then homing in on your time management skills might be in order. The Pomodoro technique is one time management tool that has been gaining popularity.

What is the Pomodoro technique?

The Pomodoro technique is a method of time management that breaks work down into intervals to make it more manageable. The technique uses a timer to break activities down into intervals of work and breaks or intervals of focus and rest.

The intervals are referred to as “Pomodoros,” which means tomatoes in Italian. In fact, the Pomodoro technique is named after the tomato-shaped kitchen timers that work well to time Pomodoro sessions. You can use the breaks between focus and work for whatever you choose, from daydreaming and chores to meditating, watching tv, and listening to music.

What are the key objectives of the technique?

Here are the key objectives of the technique, followed by its benefits, according to Pomodoro Technique resources.

Determine how much effort activities require

Using the Pomodoro technique, you’ll have a visual idea of the actual time you spend on each task you undertake to better manage your time moving forward.

Reduce interruptions as you’re working

It’s easy for us to want to respond immediately to emails or take phone calls as they come in, but chances are, those items can wait. Using the Pomodoro technique will help you get used to remaining focused for certain periods of time without allowing yourself to be interrupted.

Estimate the time required for tasks and activities

The more you use the technique, the easier it will be for you to determine the amount of effort and time required to accomplish the tasks you’ve set out for the next day and throughout the week.

Make the Pomodoro technique align with your needs

The outline for the Pomodoro technique is set, so you know how to implement it. Once you get the hang of it, you can adjust the technique to maximize efficiency for your requirements, like reviewing your previous task the first few moments that you set out to begin a new one.

Create a timetable

A table provides a visual of how you’re using your time-both work and time off. Using a timetable allows you to see the amount of work you’re accomplishing so you can enjoy your time off without stressing that you could or should be doing more work.

Set objectives important to you

A great benefit of the Pomodoro technique is allowing you to use it as a tool to reach your personal objectives. For example, if you realize you’re spending too much time reading emails, you can adjust your Pomodoro timetable to allow more time for presentations.

What are the benefits of the Pomodoro technique?

• You’re better able to manage interruptions. You can avoid mistakes due to not being able to concentrate and reduce overtime, rework, incorrect estimates, and stress.

• You can reduce the length and number of meetings scheduled. Avoid unproductive, long, and exhausting meetings.

• Improve your motivation by adding value to the content of your work. You can avoid a lack of trust between members of a team, lack of responsibility, and a lack of self-confidence by learning to appreciate the level of effort a task will require, how to organize your time, and reducing the complexity of required tasks.

• You can improve errors in estimation. You can learn to organize and simplify activities and reduce errors when estimating undefined, complex, and uncertain tasks.

• Meet deadlines without feeling the pressure of time. You no longer need to deal with delays and missed deadlines by learning to take a complex goal and break it down into simpler goals that you can more easily reach. This can increase motivation, and success factors, and estimate preciseness.

• Create an atmosphere where time becomes your ally vs. your enemy in feeling you don’t have enough of it to achieve your objectives and goals. You can learn to avoid working under pressure, fear of accountability, and tension among team members by taking regular breaks, improving your work processes, and observing your actions and behaviors.

• More easily share the same point of view about what actions to take with your team members. You can create clarity on what they need to do, when they need to do it, and who is on point to do what.

• Develop a timetable that’s effective in reaching multiple team goals and dealing with unplanned change, tasks, emergencies, and events. You can then reduce team member friction, project interruptions, and bottlenecks.

• Optimize team member interactions required to finish tasks. Avoid interrupting emails, instant messages, and emails by organizing goals and tasks in a more precise and clearer way to minimize an overflow of communication.

• Reduce goal complexity and uncertainty relative to achieving them. Avoid unreachable, unmanageable, and complex goals by transforming deeply rooted hierarchies of tasks into linear task lists.

How do I apply the Pomodoro technique?

• Identify a task or project you’d like to complete.

• Set a timer for 25 minutes.

• Start the timer and work on the project until the timer goes off.

• Put a checkmark on the paper when the timer goes off to congratulate yourself.

• Take a five-minute break to grab a coffee, check your phone, and so on.

• Repeat this process four times.

• Take a 15-to-25-minute break after the fourth cycle.

• Repeat the entire process until you plan to work that day or until you complete the task.

You can always choose to work for longer periods and take shorter or longer breaks. The goal is to develop a method that works for you to help you remain focused without overdoing it for too long a period.

There are also apps and tools to help you track your progress and time your intervals, some of which include:

• PomodoroPro App

• Pomodoro Technique Website

• Pomodoro Technique Web App

Should I give it a try?

More than 2 million users worldwide have tried the technique and put it into regular practice. Now you have info to try it for yourself to support and improve your time management skills. Will it work for you? You won’t know until you give it a try!