10 Oct

The Pomodoro Technique: Block Time, Conquer Projects       


Ever gotten stuck putting work into something? Big projects with lots of different pieces to put together can be daunting. You know what you want to do but it’s too easy to get distracted. There are

Now, distractions aren’t bad things by themselves. You have to lead a full life and enjoy time with your family and friends, hobbies, and things that are just plain fun. But when there are important things to get done, you need to be able to keep your mind focused and avoid all the little attention grabbers available throughout the day.

Fortunately, there’s a simple solution that works well for a lot of people. I’ve used it tons of times on all types of projects. It doesn’t require any special software or apps and you won’t have to spend any money to put it into practice. It all starts with a tomato.

The Beginning of the Pomodoro Technique

I’ve mentioned this technique before as a productivity and time management technique. Although it was invented in the 1990s by Francesco Cirrillo, it’s really gained popularity in the last several years. He’s an entrepreneur so it only makes sense that he would be able to create something that pushes productivity through the ceiling.

I learned about it from John Lee Dumas of EOFire.com during a one-on-one discussion we had. He’s got some serious accomplishments under his belt and so I take his productivity advice seriously. When he told me about the simple method, it just made sense. Once I tried it out, I was blown away—and you will be too.

How It Works

So where does that tomato come in? The technique revolves around timers and using special intervals to maximize your focus. When he first created it, the timer user was shaped like a tomato (something you can still pick up on his website). Now, the whole concept revolves around timed productivity units called “pomodoros”, from the Italian for tomato.

Pick a project that you need to really make a dent in and take a moment to think through what steps you need to take and how you’re going to work on it. Set a timer for 25 minutes. Start working and don’t give in to any distractions until the timer goes off. Then, set another timer for 5 minutes and spend that time taking a break. Then reset the timer for 25 minutes and dig back into the work.

Repeat this process throughout a solid block of time, like 2-3 hours. After that, give yourself a longer break. Each 25-minute interval is called a “Pomodoro” and they bring you quickly to the end of your projects.

Why It Works

It doesn’t seem like much, does it? Bursts of time less than half an hour about the same as an average sitcom episode. So how do you make so much progress?

Cirrillo determined an optimum focus window of 25 minutes. This length was enough to make a difference without being so long as to feel like a slog. The short breaks help you process the information you’ve just taken in. You may not be able to focus for 25 minutes or think you need to concentrate longer. You can adjust the length of the pomodoro in order to best meet your own needs. It’s infinitely adjustable to any schedule.

Avoiding diversion while you’re working is also a key factor. The mini-breaks you take to check your emails or answer a text message take your attention off the task at hand. Refocusing that takes up more time and reduces the quality of your work. By breaking up your time into longer, more productive chunks, you’re able to push through difficult periods and find yourself beating deadlines in no time.

Take advantage of one of the easiest and cheapest ways to boost your productivity. Enjoy the opportunity to get through more projects and feel refreshed even after hours of work with just 5 minutes of rest.