The Pomodoro Technique: A time management method
I’ve heard of the Pomodoro Technique when I saved an article about it on Pocket but haven’t had the chance to fully read until yesterday. The first time I read the article, I found the time management method too intimidating and the written piece too lengthy so I shrugged it off but promised to go back to it when I’m in a better mood to read a lengthy article.
So to start this off, what is The Pomodoro Technique exactly?
The aim of the Pomodoro Technique is to provide a simple tool/process for improving productivity. The idea was founded by Francesco Cirillo in the late 80’s but was not put into practice until the late 90’s, later on making more people interested with the concept and asking how it is done exactly, thereby encouraging Cirillo to arrive with this study. The Pomodoro Technique was derived from the word Pomodoro, the Italian translation of tomato, which is the shape of the kitchen timer Cirillo used in this study.
However, to not confuse my dear readers, I will be sticking with this article, which I found on Pocket.
Now, The Pomodoro Technique goes about with these 4 simple principles:
The idea is to accomplish 40 Pomodoro’s or 1,000 hours a workweek, which is 8 Pomodoro’s a day on average. This is what I did: I followed the 25-minute work, 5-minute rest timetable and after 3 sets of that, I took a 10-minute break instead of 5. If you will compute that, without considering the 8 Pomodoro’s we mentioned earlier, that makes about 16 Pomodoro’s a day, but since I work for 7 hours only, that makes it 14 Pomodoro’s in total.
Easy, right? Well, not so. Or at least, it depends on the person doing it.
Pomodoro: Day 1
Today is the first time I tried The Pomodoro since I just finished the entire article last night and I wanted to change my habit of procrastinating and setting aside work for distraction. Not a good character when you’re trying to make something of yourself, really, so I resolved to try out this time management method.
Materials I used
- My phone’s airplane mode
- My phone’s timer (with alarm)
- A notebook to jot down Pomodoro-related notes
- My will and determination
- (Update) An online app
Spending my breaks wisely
During my 5-minute breaks, I decided to use them wisely, but most of all, stick to them. I was determined to work continuously and without distractions for 25 minutes straight. I even let my bathroom break wait until my 5-minute break! So that said, during my break, that’s when I took bathroom breaks, checked my e-mail, fixed myself a cup of coffee, got a plate of snacks, and messaged Shane on Facebook. Basically, that’s all I did. Until now I haven’t checked Instagram and Twitter, which is a big deal. And it’s already 8:30 PM!
I worked effortlessly. It seemed I was doing nothing when in fact I was doing more than I normally do on my typical, lazy days.
For my work as a freelance writer, I am only required to type endlessly on my laptop for hours until the clock strikes 5 o’clock. I usually procrastinate and check on social media to rid of my boredom even though there is no reason to be. The result? I play more than I work. On average, I finish three articles, that includes watching YouTube videos, checking on blogs, mindlessly scrolling through my social media accounts, especially Facebook, and not really focusing on work alone.
The Pomodoro, however, completely flipped my lazy bum and let me finish 5 articles. *Insert angels playing the harp here*
I was blown away with my own skills. See, the only things getting in the way for my would-be everyday victory are my laziness and procrastination. It’s insane! I also took my lunch break right on schedule, which I usually don’t because I like multi-tasking, and I took breaks when I only really needed to. Overall, I find the 25 minutes of straight work reasonable enough.
“But how if it stresses you out more than help you?”
I know, I know, all things have flaws and my first attempt at #Pomodoroing had some, too. Come 3 PM and I was slowly being overwhelmed by the load of work I was doing. It felt like I was doing nothing but working. The 5-minute breaks weren’t enough and I was starting to feel a slight headache coming through. Take a timer with loads of laptop screen staring and it’s close to impossible to not get a headache at the end of the day (as I type this blog post, my eyes are hurting).
So I did what other normal human beings would do, I distracted myself and watched this TED talks of Elizabeth Gilbert and Robert Waldinger. Amazing talks, by the way. But I pushed through with my initial plan and went back to work after feeling that I was only wasting time on videos that could wait (the 5-minute breaks did me good, my friends).
I gave up timing myself when my watch hit 4:10 PM so I just stopped my timer and zoomed in on work, finishing exactly at 5 PM. And that’s another workday done!
Some more observations:
- I don’t work well with timers so there were a few times, especially during the late afternoon, that I felt pressured to work as fast as I could because of the time limit. However, when I worked straight and ignored the time altogether, I finished a lot of work with still a hefty load of time left. That said,
- The Pomodoro helped me ignore the time on my laptop. I have kinda set a silent rule by now that by 11 AM, I should be done with one article, the next by mid-afternoon, and the last before my work shift ends. Such a lazy schedule, isn’t it? I totally agree. Applying The Pomodoro, I was able to write two articles before noon and the three more after my lunch break and in between the TED talks (hehe).
- Since I only write for work and do not manage social media or tackle other tasks like other freelancers do, basically, I only took 5-minute breaks in between work. It didn’t allow me to work on my cardio, run to the grocery store for a quick bite or bring my daughter to her dentist’s appointment because, well, those things do no apply to me! LOL. With that, I highly believe, and without reading Cirillo’s entire document, that this time management method will work best for individuals who juggle a lot of chores on their plate on a daily basis or for those who simply suck at managing their time. LOL.
- Without applying The Pomodoro, my daily tasks would be all over the place, I would multitask a lot, not take my lunch properly, keep being distracted with so many things that could wait until later, and do the least amount of work acceptable.
To cap this article off, would I do The Pomodoro Technique again?
A definite yes. 🙂
Seriously, though, I’m destined to try out peculiar things and write a review about them. Somebody sponsor this lady!
May you spend your time wiser now and forever,