What the Heck is the Pomodoro Technique?

So I’ve talked about the Pomodoro Technique multiple times. But I’ve gotten a few messages that make me feel like I gave it a weird explanation. So, in an attempt to hopefully clear things up here is my really shitty explanation lol:

Breaking down your work into two timed intervals so that you focus on input rather than output while preventing burn out and most of all procrastination.

A series of long work sessions (~25 minutes) followed by short breaks (~5 minutes) until you complete your task.

A Brief History of the Pomodoro Technique

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From my understanding, this was a time management system created by Francesco Cirillo in the late 80’s. There are multiple blogs and weird articles in the internet claiming that all the greats from the past an present have used it; Shakespeare, Beethoven, Einstein, Oprah, probably Plato lol, the list goes on forever on the internet😂. But I think people make these stretches because essentially the Pomodoro Technique is a form of Time-Blocking.

The Creator: Francesco Cirillo

Francesco himself actually used a kitchen timer while he was in undergrad hence when you look for apps the logo is often a tomato (and I mean ‘pomodoro’ is also Italian for tomato). But this may also explain (imo) the random amount of time selected for a work session which was 25 minutes. Whether your procrastination is based on anxiety with work, perfectionism, or just because, I think the Pomodor Technique is a great approach to start with.

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Input over Output

Rather than feeling like your fighting against time to complete a task, the Pomodoro Technique gets you to focus on getting into your ‘flow state’ where the only thing you’re focused on is your task (Used a lot of the word ‘focus’ here, sorry lol).

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But essentially the benefits of using the Pomodoro Technique are: you become better at estimating how long things will actually take (and not the extremely optimistic belief that our minds default to where we can write an essay in an hour, a somewhat realistic estimating because we’re measuring by pomodoros), become better at ignoring distractions because you are used to taking breaks and know you can come back to them later, help you organize work, create more free time and become more efficient.

Nonetheless, if you’re here you’ve probably heard about the benefits about using the Pomodoro Technique, so I’ll try my best just get into how to do it.

Getting Started with Pomodoro

The whole technique is really simple to do all you need to remember is 25 minutes of work by 5 minutes of break and rinse and repeat. But I find people remember the important things better when you can give some sort of explanation so skim throught my horrible writting and pick up what resonates with you so that you can hold the importance of splitting up your time with the Pomodoro Technique.

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What you’ll need

  • A timer (or Pomodoro App)
  • A Task (You have nuff of these -> If you want more: Impossible List)
  • Somewhere to record distractions (Limitless Planner)

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1. Select a Task You’d Like to Get Done

Pick ONE task to focus on for your Pomodoro session. Don’t mistake busyness for productivity, by selecting one task, you’re declaring to your brain that you want to give this task you’re undivided attention!

So this is an extremely important step, by declaring what task you want to work on you avoid the common procrastination technique I like to call ‘I have so much work to do I just won’t do anything”. By giving specific, dedicated time to your work you tend to avoid “productive procrastination” and do the task at hand. It gets you moving and that to me is the most important thing.

Remember “Done is better than perfect” – Rach <3

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2. Work Until Your Timer Rings

Set your timer for 25 minutes and promise to yourself you’ll work on the task selected uninterrupted. It’s a small amount of time that we know you can do it!

Immerse yourself in this task and work as hard as you can to avoid any and all distraction. I know… It’s a lot easier said than done, but the technique accounts for it all. So when the time comes and you get the urging feeling: to check Facebook, look up to see if water is wet or dry or if ackee is really a fruit or is it a weird vegetable. Write that stuff down!

As ridiculous as the idea may seem or even better if its completely logical write it down. I personally have a brain dump section I use on the Limitless PLanner and I toss any and all thought in that one section. (I like to use brain dump because it’s my dedicated location for thoughts that I know I will return to, I think this helps because: David Allen lol).

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3. It Rings, Put a Check, Take a Break

Congrats! It’s been 25 minutes and you’ve completed a Pomodoro! That’s awesome you did something without getting super distracted! This is a huge accomplishment! So you deserve to take a break 😁. Just before you set your 5 minute timer to do so though make sure that you put a check mark beside your task to show to yourself that you’ve had a succesfful pomodoro work session on that task! Now set that 5 minute timer and take a break!

5 Minutes?! What to do on a short break

Personally, I like to get up for my break, I like to get away from to work location because if I don’t I think I may go a little crazy. I’ve had long all nighters in the library without taking breaks before and I forgot where my legs went so if you can go for a walk that is pretty key. I know taht most of you’ll probably wont do it but to incentivise you this is what I usually do during my 5 minute breaks on the Pomodoro:

  • Use the washroom
  • Walk around outside
  • GEt some water
  • look outside the window
  • exercise (pushups, situps, lunges etc)
  • The possibilities are endless of what you can do in 5 minutes
  • Meditate
  • deep breathing

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4. Rinse and Repeat

Now that you’ve taken a break we’re back at it again! Just do what you been doing and your task will be done alot sooner than you’ll think! So you’re like Dylan this sound great and all but my prof wants a 100-paged essay by tomorrow and I’m only on page 4 what I can’t do it in one Pomodoro session! and 5 minutes is wayyyy not enough.

Trusttttt, I know.

So, don’t fret. I know 5 minutes is a whack rest and it seems ridiculous that you gotta do it every 25 minutes. Like I said I think its 25 minutes cause the man used a tomato kitchen timer. If you in the flow keep going, use all these things as guideline but you know yourself the best. But if you like rules and you only do things by the book. Then Pomodoro got you covered, after you’ve done 4 sessions instead of taking a 5 minute break you can take a longer one! Most apps recommend 15 minutes afterwards.

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But personally, I think rules are more like guidelines anyways so I recommend adapting everything based on the situation. So (imo) the benefit of this technique is it gets you over something I call “inertial/activation energy” something like a chemical reaction you just need to bust past through that barrier and the Pomodoro technique helps with that.

Best of all when you finish you’ll probably have a long ass list that was bugging you that you might not even be interested in. (I always find it intersting that your brain will make the most ridiculous things seem hella intersting when you start working) so when you’re done you can follow up on those thoughts and make those into pomodoros or just chill.

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Good Luck!

Get Stuff Done!

Catch you in the next one!

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