Did you make a lofty list of resolutions or goals you wanted to achieve in preparation for the beginning of the year? I’m no different, but as the weeks have rolled by, I’ve realized (as I have every year) that the new year isn’t some magical restart. We are still just ourselves, living our regular lives.
To achieve our goals or to even just get started on our to-do lists, we need to prioritize. Time management is something many of us struggle with. We want to be productive, but without the right tools, we can fall right back into our less-than-ideal routines.
If you’re a human being, you probably struggle with procrastination or focusing your attention when you want to get things done—or you might just be overwhelmed with your daily tasks. Whatever the case, here’s an easy, clever, time-tested method to help you better manage your time.
The Pomodoro Technique was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late ’80s when he was just a student. When he realized he wasn’t getting enough done in his study sessions, he grabbed a timer, which happened to be a tomato-shaped kitchen timer (pomodoro is Italian for tomato), and set it for a short amount of time.
After a bit of trial and error, he found that 25-minute focused work sessions separated by short breaks effectively helped him accomplish more. He’s since written a book on the method and now works as a consultant with top companies around the world.
How To Follow The Pomodoro Technique
- Choose a task.
- Set a timer for 25 minutes.
- Focus on the task until the timer goes off.
- Take a short break (two to five minutes).
- Repeat four times (these bursts of productivity are called pomodoros).
- Take a longer break after four work sessions (15-30 minutes).
This method helps by breaking up your tasks into smaller segments, keeping you from feeling overwhelmed by something that feels too large or unmanageable.
I’ve adopted the technique for writing this article, and so far, I’ve noticed that I do feel more focused than normal. Knowing that I have a break coming up has helped me stay concentrated on the task at hand and not on what else I could be doing.
The Pomodoro Technique can also help stave off mental fatigue. Some people push through their tasks just to get them done, even if they’re stressed and tired and the work isn’t their best. This method is likely to improve the quality of your work while ensuring you don’t get burned out.
Other benefits include breaking the habit of multitasking, improving motivation, and increasing your willpower.
Whatever your goals, to-do lists, or resolutions entail, the Pomodoro Technique might be just the thing you need to start off on the right foot.