So-what-is-the-PomodorosIf you know anything about Italian language, you’re probably wondering how the ‘tomato’ technique could possibly enhance your time management skills. The Pomodoros technique has less to do with tomatoes and more to do with strategies for lengthy tasks that can quite often result in fidgety minds and short attention spans.

Created in the 1980s by Italian Francesco Cirillo, the Pomodoro technique has soared in popularity and is one of the most commonly used and referred to strategies for time management. As with anything, this method isn’t a one size fits all strategy and won’t work for every individual,  however, it is still worth taking into consideration if you find yourself struggling with time management.

The basic premise of the Pomodoro technique is using time efficiently. This is always easier said than done, but with this technique you actively break your time down into sections. For every project that comes up throughout the day, you budget your time and take periodic breaks. For example, work hard for twenty five minutes and enjoy a five minute break. It doesn’t sound like rocket science, but without this active thought process the technique will not work.

Frequent breaks keep the mind focused and fresh. For long and intimidating to-do lists or projects, the Pomodoro technique helps you to achieve goals faster by forcing you to focus and adhere to strict timing. Without structured timing, the mind wanders and procrastination and distraction occurs. By constantly timing your activities, you become accountable for what is achieved in the structured time frame.

The Pomodoro technique focuses on 25 minute intervals. It is recommended to use a kitchen timer or something similar to have a physical attribute of the time assigned to each task. You set the timer for 25 minutes, work productively and effectively for this time frame, and then reward yourself with a five minute break. Each period is called a ‘pomodoro’ and after each interval you then mark your progress with an X. It is also worth noting how many times during the ‘pomodoro’ you felt distracted or fidgety.

By using a physical representation of time, such as a kitchen timer (or purchasing an official Pomodoro timer shaped as a tomato), you are able to see the time ticking before you and work to achieve your goals before the buzzer goes off. Then, once the buzzer does go off and you have completed the tasks, there is a genuine feeling of satisfaction for having used your time productively.

The best thing about the Pomodoro technique is that is free and easy to try. There is absolutely no harm in trying this technique and you ultimately have nothing to lose by giving it a go. The technique has been known to reduce procrastination in those who are often at risk of becoming distracted when a task seems too long. By breaking time down into sections, each part of the task feels more achievable and manageable.

Have you tried this technique?  I’d love to hear how you went with your comments below.