Focusing on the task at hand is no small feat in an age where social media and other digital distractions are always around. Don’t throw in the towel just yet, though. Try out the Pomodoro Technique, named after a tomato shaped kitchen timer, for a simple but effective method for increasing your productivity in a big way.
First developed by consultant Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s, the Pomodoro Technique is a time management method that uses a simple kitchen timer to break up time into manageable chunks. By setting a timer for 25 minute bursts of work, you can break a daunting task into much more manageable intervals, or pomodoros. Focusing for 25 minutes on the task at hand, and then taking a short five minute break, is scientifically proven to be much more effective than the usual method of multitasking and “working” on something while actually checking email, reading the news, and juggling a bunch of other distractions simultaneously. Frequent breaks actually improve mental sharpness.
The goals of the Pomodoro Technique are ambitious: to alleviate anxiety, enhance focus, boost motivation and determination, and improve your work processes. Can a kitchen timer really help you achieve such lofty goals?! If you haven’t tried this technique yet, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how effective it is on all these fronts. After all, it’s the simple techniques that are most likely to stick, and most likely to bring about lasting results.
To try the Pomodoro Technique, grab a kitchen timer or just set one on your phone (and then place it out of sight). You can also use the free timer at tomato-timer.com. Focus on your work task for 25 minutes straight, and then get up to stretch, have some water, and clear your mind. Then repeat the process for four more pomodoros. After four 25 minute work sessions, you’ve earned yourself a longer 15-30 minute break to recharge.
By implementing this technique, you’re well on your way to working smarter instead of harder. The best part? You’ll get more done in less time, come away from your desk with a sense of satisfaction at having completed the task at hand, and have plenty of extra time to spend doing the things you actually want to be doing!