Does the Pomodoro Technique Actually Work?

Posted on - in Planning & Organization, Productivity Hacks

Time management is something some many people naturally excel at, but that’s not the case for everyone else. It’s something you must learn with time and practice.

One time management technique many people have discovered is the Pomodoro Technique, which helps people learn to work with the time they have instead of viewing time as being against them.

What It Does

Imagine you have a project you need to finish by 5 p.m. It’s currently eight in the morning, so you have an entire workday to complete the project. Your first instinct may be to roll your sleeves up and work through lunch, but the Pomodoro Technique instructs people to break down their time.

The theory for this technique is that people should work in chunks of time. Write a list of what you need to accomplish, breaking down everything into steps.

Do your best on your project for 25 minutes, then take a five-minute break. It’s similar to how runners train for a race. Your body builds stamina easier with interval training.

The Pomodoro Technique is interval training for your mind. After four of these 25-minute intervals, you can take a longer break as needed. Aim for 15 to 25 minutes to step away and clear your mind.

How People Use It

People use this technique best when they have the ability to schedule large chunks of their time. If your day is filled with meetings, time on the road or other time-consuming activities that stop you from working, it may not be as effective.

You want to be able to have those 25 minutes to truly focus, without anything else getting in the way. Put your phone on silent if you can, so you don’t get calls or notifications that pull your mind away from what you’re working on.

You can also misuse the Pomodoro Technique out of sheer habit. The first or second 25-minute round may go successfully, but you could prolong your breaks each time.

Five minutes would turn into 10, then 15, and then you’d be having breaks equally as long as your work time. Your productivity would never reach the level you wanted it to. If you’re not careful about monitoring your time, you may want to look into other techniques.

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Why People Use It

The reasons why people want to learn to manage their time better will all be different, but most people start using this technique when they feel burnt out on their current method of time management. You may be tired of working at full steam constantly just to meet deadlines. You may want to turn things around and be able to meet deadlines more frequently.

Some people need this technique because they’re not sure where their time goes. At least if they’re checking the clock or setting timers, they’ll know how long they spend on each activity. Studies show that 47 percent of employees explore social media when they could be working on other things.

There are an abundance of ways time can be wasted, and when there are habits you do on a daily basis, you might not even notice you do them until you start tracking your time.

What Tools You Can Use

You may feel like you understand the concept of the Pomodoro Technique, but how can you use your 25-minute blocks of time to your best advantage? That’s when technology can step in to help.

You can try new workplace tools to accomplish more than you ever have. Whether you need a place to manage projects, centralize group work or block social media sites until a set time, you can find a tool that will help you get your productivity to where it needs to be.

Before you ever set a timer, try all the tools at your disposal. Play around with them to find out which ones you like and which ones have features you wouldn’t even need to use.

You’ll only know which ones are right for you if you take time to mess around with them. Try doing this after the periods when you need to be focused on work, like at night or on the weekends.

Anything that will help you manage your time in more effective ways is worth a try. The Pomodoro Technique will teach you how to use your time differently and schedule tasks out so you can tackle them one at a time. You’ll also learn to give yourself small breaks, to refresh your mind and come back to your work with more energy.

As long as you abide by the rules of the technique and have the right tools to assist you, you can use the Pomodoro Technique for anything you want to accomplish.

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Kayla Matthews writes Productivity Theory and is constantly seeking to provide new tips and hacks to keep you motivated and inspired! You can also find her on Huffington Post and Tiny Buddha, and follow her on Google+ and Twitter to stay up to date on her latest productivity posts!

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