Anyone serious about productivity has at least heard of the Pomodoro Technique. But does it work for everyone? Will the Pomodoro method help you become more productive?
Let’s take an honest look at the pros and cons of using the Pomodoro Technique for productivity.
What Is The Pomodoro Technique?
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Let’s stop talking about productivity and get some ? done.
~ Brian D. Hawkins
Put simply, a guy named Francesco Cirillo developed the super simple method of using a kitchen timer to help focus and streamline our productive work-flow.
The idea is to work in 25-minute chunks of time with a short (about 5 minutes) break in between Pomodoros. After every four Pomodoros, take a longer break (about half an hour or less).
There are other parts to the Pomodoro equation that helped turn Cirillo’s idea into a viable productivity technique.
Today, rather than become the 10 billionth blogger to rewrite the Pomodoro Technique, I want to take a look at how realistic the Pomodoro method is for most of us.
If you want to learn more about the Pomodoro Technique, I recommend the official Pomodoro website.
The Benefits Of Using The Pomodoro Technique
The more you eliminate the inefficient use of information, the better it is for productivity.
Honestly, the Pomodoro Technique wouldn’t have become so popular if it wasn’t a very effective productivity hack for many people. In fact, just a few years ago, Life Hacker, based on reader nominations, declared it the most popular productivity method.
We understand the power of focus & flow and the Pomodoro Technique keys in on that type of extreme concentration. While many people swear by multitasking, I am fully in the “one thing at a time” camp.
With that said, it is tough to focus entirely on a single task for a long period of time without dealing with some sort of mental fatigue. When we hyper-focus too long, we generally allow our minds to drift off course, lose interest, or eventually burn out.
The obvious solution is to break those chunks of extreme mentally focused time into manageable sets with a renewing break in between.
Creating a disciplined habit of time and focus management can help eliminate distractions and allow better planning.
Breaking projects into a specific number of Pomodoros helps us determine and measure our effectiveness and improve our overall productivity.
Using a productivity method such as the Pomodoro Technique forces us to list and prioritize tasks and get more done with less distraction.
The Pomodoro Technique May Not Work For Everyone – All Of The Time
Don’t worry about breaks every 20 minutes ruining your focus on a task. Contrary to what I might have guessed, taking regular breaks from mental tasks actually improves your creativity and productivity. Skipping breaks, on the other hand, leads to stress and fatigue.
First, I need to stress that any habit forming improvement requires commitment and effort. Please don’t allow this section to discourage you from trying or give you an excuse to avoid discipline. Seriously.
My biggest issue with The Pomodoro Technique is easily corrected and that is simply that the method itself can become a distraction of its own. I’ll explain:
I’m generally an analytical (right brain) type of person but can sometimes become a little creative (left brain) when writing and planning. I love that creative part of me because it allows me to think two steps ahead so I’m rushing to keep up with my thoughts as I write. This can create an increasingly rare hyper flow (increased focus) that turns me into a content producing machine.
It is these rare times that a buzzer going off after twenty-five minutes risks me breaking that welcome flow of concentration.
This isn’t a problem as often as I’d like and is easily fixed by adjusting our own technique to better fit our work habits and accept a little flexibility for Pomodoros. By that, I mean “pausing” that alarm and keep pushing forward as long as you are in the flow.
Now, if you are anything like me, you’ve had times you kept pushing forward even to the point you were about to pee your pants before you even allowed yourself a bathroom break. You know it’s true. LOL
So here’s the deal, as far as I can see it. The Pomodoro Technique works for most people that commit to it – most of the time. I doubt anyone can say it works every time, but that is the nature of productivity. Sorry, it just is.
I believe the more creative you are, the harder the Pomodoro Technique may be to implement BUT you may benefit the most from the discipline.
Pomodoro Technique Tools I Use To Keep Productive
Can you believe I actually use a kitchen timer? I found it pretty cheap on Amazon (Shown in the image – Coromose Tomatoes Style Kitchen Mechanical Food Cooking Timer $) and thought it would just be another novelty item for my display shelf, but I found that I actually enjoy using it. There’s just something about the mechanical “ticking” sound that helps me focus.
I’m an Android user and was using a Pomodoro Timer phone app before I started using the actual timer.
I haven’t tried it yet, but I did find a Pomodoro Timer on iTunes that is only a couple of bucks and looks amazing.
Lastly, here’s a browser-based web app that I wish was mine. 🙂
I should have led with this, but I’m just a blogger, not a productivity expert. I do practice the Pomodoro Technique, however, and I find it crucial for my personality.
When I’m not timing and measuring my progress, I’m either working far too many hours on the wrong projects or dropping into the YouTube abyss getting nothing done.
It’s not a perfect solution, but it works for me. When I set up my schedule for today, I assigned myself two Pomodoros for writing this post. I still haven’t created the images, proofed anything, or written any of the meta and promotional copy.
I will need to set the timer for another 25 minutes. I need to allow myself that type of flexibility or I will certainly fall short on my daily accomplishments.
What are your thoughts about using the Pomodoro Technique for productivity? Have you tried it? What helps you focus and be most productive? Are you the creative type and find something like a timer too disruptive?