Time Management: Pomodoro Technique

Achieving laser focus is a major desire of most people. Everyone wants to achieve that state where you just zone in and get stuff done – Enter the Pomodoro Technique!

Wiki describes the Pomodoro Technique as a time management method developed by Francessco Cirillo in the late 1980s, that takes a timer to break down time into intervals of 25 minutes, separated with short breaks. These intervals are known as a”pomodori”, the plural of the Italian word Pomodoro, for “tomato.”

Time Management- Pomodoro Technique - Baby Doodah

Back in mid-November I wrote a post outlining what time management was and included some fantastic articles for busy moms looking to manage their time better, feel free to click the previous pink text for the article. In that article, I talk about 4 different methods that I’ve come across and attempted to use in my time management journey. Today I want to talk about the Pomodoro Technique.

Here’s Why I Tried the Pomodoro Technique

I’m a “to-do” list maker. I love paper and stationary, new notebooks and pretty pens, so it really should come as no surprise that I love making lists. I get such joy (and sanity) out of creating them, and out of checking items off the list. However, I was finding more and more that many of the items on my list were just sitting there. I was either ignoring them or procrastinating completing them. I knew if I wanted to get things accomplished and manage my time successfully, I needed to try something new.

I came across the idea of the Pomodoro Technique while reading The Nectar Collective (I couldn’t find the specific post, so that’s just a link to the blog homepage). I was intrigued, so I started doing my research and almost immediately fell in love with the concept. I put it into practice and found myself QUICKLY crossing off items on my ever-growing to-do list. It felt fantastic!

How to Know if the Pomodoro Technique is Right for You and How it Works

This Method is Right for You If…

  • You are someone who struggles to motivate yourself to get going.
  • You love lists, but find that it just keeps growing and that you’re not actually doing anything with it.
  • Procrastination is the name of your game.
  • You lose focus VERY quickly, and need frequent breaks to keep yourself on task.

How Pomodoro Works

A timer is used to break your time up into increments, typically 25 minutes each. In that 25 minutes, you do nothing but work on the task you chose to focus on. NO quick breaks for Facebook, answering texts, emails, or anything! The task you chose is your LIFE for the next 25 minutes.

After every 25 minute increment, you get a 5 minute break to use however you’d like. You continue to repeat this cycle for four rounds, after the fourth round, you get a 15 minute break. Use it wisely! My recommendation, is not to spend more time on the computer (unless you have to), I always get up and take a quick walk or simply just get up and move.

This might sound strict to you, and it kind of is – but if you suffer with lack of focus, this can really help and set you in forward motion. You will find yourself zoning in sooner, you’ll be getting WAY more accomplished, and you’ll feel better as your to-do list dwindles and makes rooms for the new items you need to work on.

How to Make it Work for You

Alright, so you’re probably wondering, how do I get it to work for me? I’d love to try it, but I don’t want to keep looking at my phone / clock, to see if my 25 minute increment is complete. That’s just going to take me out of the focused element – You are absolutely right!

I have a few suggestions on how you can get it to work for you. You just need to choose which method you’d like to go with and then make the leap!

  • The most basic of ways is to get yourself an egg timer, similar to this little cutie. Set it for 25 minutes, do your work and then when it goes off, set it for another 5 – so on and so forth.
  • You can use the timer on your phone in a similar way as the Pomodoro egg timer above. Set it for 25 minutes, work, then reset for 5 minutes – then just keep going.
  • There are bunches of apps on the app store for Apple and for Android. This one is my favorite Pomodoro Timer: Focus on your Productivity and Beat Procrastination (this is the link for the Apple store). I’m not seeing it available on the Android marketplace, so readers, if you have any that you’ve tried and are favorites, please share in the comments.
    • The app is great because you hit the start button and it tracks your 25 minute interval and then alerts you when your 5 minute break starts and then again when your interval restarts. It’s fantastic motivation!
  • And now, my new, personal fav is, Focus @ Will. Focus @ Will is a streaming music player that provides you a ton of options of music to listen to that will help get you in the zone. The beauty is, you can set the timer for 25 minutes (or any other length of time), work your butt off and then take a 5 minute break.
    • If you LOVE listening to music, or music really gets you moving – I highly suggest you give Focus @ Will a try. You can get a 30 day free trial, and then if you like it, you can subscribe either by paying monthly or a year at a time. The links I’m sharing are NOT affiliate links, I just really and truly love this program. Oh! And there is an app, too. :)

How I know that it’s works

I still struggle with getting my head on straight for some of the the more abstract tasks, but those items that I use to put off, are now often my central focus. I turn on Focus @ Will and get to work.

It helps with my reading, too. When I’m reading a book for pleasure, I don’t struggle to stay focused, but when I need to read a contract for work or an in depth report, simply by setting my timer, turning my music on, I am good to go. 25 minutes flies by in a flash and I can actually recall what I’ve read.

Final Thoughts

Please keep in mind that this technique may not be the perfect solution for everyone. If you work in a fast paced environment or face frequent distractions, you likely will not find success with Pomodoro. However, those of you who do lots of project work, and can break your tasks up into shorter increments, you will find that you’ll get to that focused point much quicker with this method.

If you’re curious, and you’re in desperate need of some focus, why not give the Pomodoro Technique a try? It’s a pretty simple method, and doesn’t cost a lot to get started (really all you need is your task and a timer).

Your turn!

Have you ever given the Pomodoro Technique a try? If so, please share your experience in the comments below!

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14 Responses to Time Management: Pomodoro Technique

  1. I’ve Never heard of this method before, but I’m definitely going to give it a shot. Thanks for sharing Jillian!

    • Jillian416 says:

      My pleasure, Meagan! It really keeps me super focused, I hope it works for you. Let me know what you think after you’ve worked with it. :-) Thanks for visiting!

  2. Nancy says:

    Jillian, I am fascinated, will be trying this out…#workingmominbalancebloghop

    • Jillian416 says:

      Woohoo!! If I can help even one person become better at time management, that would make everything worthwhile. Enjoy and good luck! Be sure to report back on how it goes. Thanks for visiting!

  3. Lisa Keith says:

    I love the Pomodoro technique, but I do something called 60-60-30s….it’s a little more intense….set the Pm timer for 50 minutes then close your eyes or lay down for ten, then work for 50, lay down for 10, then you get a 30 minute bio break for potty and snack. On a good day I can do 3 sets of these bad boys. I need more than 25 minutes to get in the “zone” and the 10 minute breaks keep you from burning out. Great Article!! I am going to try the focus app too!
    Lisa Keith recently posted…Happy New Year?My Profile

    • Jillian416 says:

      Hi Lisa! I love love love this idea!! So great! I am in love with the Pomodoro technique, but often find that when I’m getting into my own home “side” work, 25 minutes isn’t enough so sometimes I spill over. Now, I think I’m just going to try doing the 60-60-30s and see how it works for me. Thank you so much for visiting AND thank you for sharing your method!

  4. Lisa Keith says:

    Tried the Focus @ Will app and LOVE IT!! Thanks so much for the tip!

  5. Peter says:

    The devs at my company started using this, and then created their own version at http://www.marinaratimer.com so they could adjust the lengths of time and share the timer with the rest of their team. I think people are more inclined to stick with the method if they can customize it to their needs!

  6. […] the beginning of January I wrote about the Pomodoro Technique and how it can help you with your time management. I wanted to continue with the Time Management […]

  7. Paul says:

    I’ve been using this technique the past few weeks and found that I really need to specifically define your tasks, otherwise, I tend to stray. The timers I’ve been using lately are at YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMJ7eLrRSRpX-CJh1x0pFOA

    They’re great at helping with focus and blocking distractions!

    • Jillian416 says:

      Hey Paul! I am so similar! I can use the Pomodoro technique, but I need outline what it is I’m going to work on during that time, otherwise I get distracted. That is a great point! Thank you, and I’ll definitely be checking out those timers on YouTube. :)

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