For educators and students everywhere, it’s the time of year when we have either more projects to complete or more to grade than we have hours in the day. One technique that works better than powering through fueled with too much sugar and frequent internet surfing or other distractions is the Pomodoro Technique.
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management strategy that was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. You can use this technique to minimize distractions while working, but it is also a way to minimize mindlessness and build in some revitalizing moments in the day. The technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally twenty-five minutes in length, separated by short breaks. These intervals are known as “pomodoros.” The method is based on the idea that frequent breaks can improve mental agility.
Each 25-minute work block is called a “pomodoro.” Over time, you’ll train yourself to be more productive during each pomodoro.
The length of working and break times can vary depending on what you prefer, but here’s the basic process:
1. Start a 25-minute timer
2. Work until the timer rings
3. Take a short, five-minute break
4. Every four pomodoros (focus periods), take a longer break—usually 20-30 minutes
Because the whole technique centers around timing your focus periods and breaks, it helps to rely on a Pomodoro timer app to keep you on track and focused throughout the day.
There are a number of apps that can be set to time your twenty-five-minute and four-minute intervals.
Pomotodo lets you combine two different productivity techniques: Pomodoro and Getting Things Done® (GTD®). Use it to capture all of your to-dos, prioritize them, and organize them into categories, and then execute your most important tasks using the Pomodoro Technique.
Focus@Will is another app that works by playing timed sequences of specially curated instrumental music that help your brain “zone out” external distractions. Research has shown that there is an optimal sequence of audio and musical attributes that help induce you into what’s called a “flow state”.
Truth be told, your body knows when it’s been twenty-five minutes, but we have to tune into our bodies enough to notice, and then be responsive.
To set yourself up for success, shut off all notifications, email alerts, and turn off the ringer on your phone. When the timer goes off, give yourself a five-minute break to do something you enjoy, preferably something that gets you up and moving. When the break is over, repeat the 30-minute process. Once four pomodoros are completed, treat yourself to a longer break of 10 to 20 minutes.One option is quick walk which can give your body and mind a much needed reprieve.
For more productivity tips see Chapter 5: Ever Lasting Focus of Practicing Presence.