Does this sound familiar? You’re constantly busy, but somehow never seem to get anything done, or make progress on your long-term goals.
We all wish we had more hours in the day, and sleep is often the first thing that we sacrifice in our desperation to squeeze more working time out of each 24 hours.
But working late hours, and being constantly exhausted, is not exactly the best solution – and ultimately is likely to actually harm our productivity, rather than help it.
Fortunately, there are many time-management tools out there, which have been developed to improve productivity – you just need to find the one that works for you the best.
One of our absolute favourites is the Pomodoro Technique, and if you haven’t heard about it, you’re going to want to read on – the effects of understanding it and using it well can be truly game-changing.
What is the Pomodoro Technique?
The Pomodoro Technique is a time-management system that helps you turn time from an enemy into a friend.
Basically, it divides your working day into 25-minutes intervals, with each one known as a ‘pomodoro.’ After completing one of these chunks of focussed work, you take a five-minute break.
Once you’ve completed four ‘pomodoros’ in a row, you can enjoy a longer break.
There are many reasons why this works – One idea is that the technique creates defined time-frames, which develops a sense of urgency.
Rather than thinking you have a whole day to tick all of the tasks from your to-do list (which usually turns into wasting precious working hours on distractions, emails, or procrastination) you know that you have only 25 minutes to make as much progress on the task as possible.
The relatively short period of each ‘pomodoro’ also helps to break down the mental blocks that can be associated with starting large, complex, projects.
Rather than worrying about the end result, the technique will help you to get started and begin making progress.
Developed by the Italian Francesco Cirillo, who named it after the tomato-shaped timer he used to track his work, (‘pomodoro’ is Italian for ‘tomato’), the technique has been widely popularised and is now loyally used by more than two million people around the world.
We are all different, and we are not saying that Pomodoro is the perfect solution for everyone, but if you have not tried it yet, we highly recommend it!
How to get started
One of the main things that has helped the Pomodoro Technique gain popularity is its simplicity. To get started, all you need is a timer.
There are many online options available that can help you with this – one Google search will give you some great applications and online timers that you can choose between.
The issue with this is the need to open up the internet, however, and potentially enter a world of distractions. A stopwatch on a smartphone can also help you – but again you may find yourself getting distracted by picking up your phone and seeing notifications.
If you want to do it the traditional way, like Cirillo, you can get your Pomodoro kitchen timer on Amazon here.
Once you’ve got your timer ready, you need to decide on the task that you will work on during the following Pomodoro session. For this reason, being able to prioritize tasks in your to-do list is important.
Next, set the timer and start working on the task. If you feel an urge to do something else, not related to the task – such as check emails, or social media – make a note of it, so you don’t forget, and check it once you’ve finished the 25-minute burst.
Knowing that you will have chance to check it soon, will help you to stop procrastinating, and often you’ll find you’re not actually interested in checking, when it’s your free-time you’re using up.
When the timer rings, stop working, put a checkmark on a piece of paper to mark one Pomodoro completed and take a 5-minute break. You then simply repeat this process.
When you have completed four ‘pomodoros’, you have earned yourself a longer break of 15 – 30 minutes. This time can be used to take a break and recharge, before jumping back into a another session of four pomodoros.
Pomodoro with Music
Here at GBM Music, we love the technique – I’m even writing this blog using it!
We weren’t completely happy with the process of measuring the time, however, and felt like we could improve it a little bit. That’s why we set to work creating the ultimate soundtrack to a ‘pomodoro’.
For some people the ticking of a timer, can increase a feeling of anxiety, and actually be a distraction from the work.
Also, if you want to listen to music – which can be a productivity aid – it can simply be too hard to hear a timer, and the logistics of this simple method can quickly become too confusing and distracting.
So to get back to basics, we created this 25-minute composition of inspiring electronic music, designed to guide you through the perfect ‘pomodoro’.
Just hit play, get to work, and take your break when the music finishes. It’ll help you to stay focussed on the task, and enjoy each ‘pomodoro’ without worrying about the ticking clock.
You can also read more about the song and the productivity-inspiring science behind it here.
By Maja Nenadov