For the Procrastinators, try the Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management system developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. It encourages people to work with the time they have – rather than against it. There’s been many different people ranting and raving about how this method helped them by improving their focus and increasing their productivity. So for my dear procrastinators, it’s worked for so many, it might work for you.

Basically you break your workday into pomodoros. Pomodoros are 25-minute chunks separated by five-minute breaks. After about four of these pomodoros, you take a longer break of about 15 to 20 minutes.

By breaking work into these smaller chunks, it instills a sense of urgency. Rather than feeling like you have endless time in the workday to get things done and then ultimately wasting those precious work hours on distractions, you know you only have 25 minutes to make as much progress on a task as possible.

In theory, the forced breaks help to cure that burnt-out feeling most of us experience toward the end of the day. () It’s impossible to spend hours in front of your computer without even realizing it, as that ticking timer forces you to get up and take a breather.

So in summary;
  1. Choose a task to be accomplished.
  2. Set the Pomodoro to 25 minutes (the Pomodoro is the timer)
  3. Work on the task until the Pomodoro rings, then put a check on your sheet of paper
  4. Take a short break (5 minutes is OK)
  5. Every 4 Pomodoros take a longer break
But what if I get distracted?

What if you’re distracted part-way by a coworker, meeting, or emergency, you either have to end the pomodoro there (saving your work and starting a new one later), or you have to postpone the distraction until the pomodoro is complete. If you can do the latter, Cirillo suggests the “inform, negotiate, and call back” strategy:

  1. Inform the other (distracting) party that you’re working on something right now.
  2. Negotiate a time when you can get back to them about the distracting issue in a timely manner.
  3. Schedule that follow-up immediately.
  4. Call back the other party when your pomodoro is complete and you’re ready to tackle their issue.
My personal experience from using the Pomodoro Technique

Because I was forced to get up and give myself a rest from staring at the screen, I found that I actually did feel better at the end of each day. Not to mention, that actually standing up a couple of times throughout the day is great for your back is great for people like me who have prolapsed discs. I ended up doing smaller tasks like checking my personal email or do a little cleaning during the breaks. If you are a social media junkie, that’s the time slot you can use for checking out your feeds.

By the end of the day I felt less stressed and cramped up and that I actually did an honest-days-work.

My biggest issue with this technique is that it doesn’t take into account work that involves a lot of meetings and or calls. For me, I will pause the timer and restart it when I’m back at my desk. That works but it’s definitely not perfect. Feel free and shout if you have solutions.

Here’s an online timer that you can use: MarinaraTimer