The Pomodoro technique is a time-management tool that breaks work periods into one time frame, and a short rest period into another. It usually involves a 25 minute work sprint and a five minute rest period. Francisco Cirillo created this method in the 80’s and now it has become a minor phenomenon.
While it’s a good tool, it is slightly over-hyped. It definitely can help you get more done, but like anything, you need to find what works best for you. Below I’ve outlined the way to get started, and some benefits that work-stop can bring to your life.
I have my Pomodoro set to 30 minute work sessions and five minute rests, with two hours netting me a full fifteen minute break. You can buy the timer or you can use an app. I use the app Pomodoro Challenge for Android (photo above). I like it more than pen and paper, since I can track how much time I spend in different projects and goals. The app is also gamified, if that is a perk to you. For beginners, I suggest a 20 minute Pom, seven minute rest period with four sessions giving you a 15 minute rest period.
I’ll usually clear 6-8 Pomodoros a day depending on what else I need to do. The important part is consistency. Track everything. It may not be important today, but when you analyze your time you don’t want any unknowns. You’ll want to review weekly, monthly, and potentially yearly depending on how important your time is to you. It will fascinate you to see where it all goes. Anything over an hour you should track.
Kill boredom with Pomodoros
The Pomodoro method is the ultimate study or work method to prevent you from being bored. Frankly, nothing works better. Why? Well, where do you usually stop in a project? In a section that’s enthralling? Probably not, you stop when things get too hard. This is the wrong way to it. The next time you come back to your project, you aren’t walking directly into a roadblock when you use this method. When the timer alerts for you to cease, you need to get into the habit of stopping, dead. Imagine a firefighter in the middle of a meal. He doesn’t get to take an extra bite when he’s called. Fork down, out the door. Just like you will when the Pomodoro is over.
It’s going to be frustrating the first few times—you’re in the middle of the breakthrough, in a solid state of flow, then you end abruptly. It’s not bad, though: it’s a bookmark for your flow state. This is exactly the positive frustration you want to end on—frustration to bring you back to your hustle. When you come back you’ll be right in the grind ready to roll.
The key is to leave and return on time. If you leave a project after floundering for three hours in one section, you won’t nearly have the passion to solve it when you come back. Stop right when the bell rings and this won’t affect you.
Use Andreian breathing methods to never lose focus
When i’m running a Pomodoro, I’ll use an Andreian breathing method to stay focused. I’ll start with a tactical breathing exercise by manually processing each breath. After the first Pomodoro of consistent breathing focus, I’ll essentially begin on auto pilot. Breathe in for five seconds, hold five seconds. Breathe out five seconds, hold five seconds. It will be uncomfortable on the exhale, but you will adapt.
The reason this is so crucial to your focus is that it puts a wall around your focus with one single gate. This gate, only lets in one or two, three thoughts max at a time. Without the breathing base, you don’t have any walls, and you’ll be distracted by every thought, phone notification (turn off notifications) or text message that comes through.
In order to have a direction, you need to be laser sharp. Once you obtain this level of focus you can accomplish nearly anything, as most goals are compounded time. After doing this long enough, I’ve gotten to the point I can work through all phone calls and texts. If my flat began to burn down, I’d keep writing. Use your new focus with caution.
Keep your brain active with movement
On my five minute breaks, I’m not taking a leisure break, I’m taking a brain refresher. I have a 45-pound kettle bell that I’ll keep by my desk and swing for the duration of five minutes as fast as I can while holding proper form. This can be replaced with anything depending on your goals. You can walk, do push-ups, burpees, anything that will get your heart-rate up.
Your body and your brain work together, if you let one go stagnant, they both suffer. For things like taking a piss, fit it into the seven-minute mark too. You do not want to be late to your own party. Anything bigger can wait until your first 15 minute stopping session.
Another point that helps me focus is standing up while I work. If you don’t want to pay for a standing desk, make one. Or stand at the kitchen counter. When we sit we become naturally lazy, worse if you lay down to work. Being on your feet naturally engages your brain more. Sitting and laying down is for resting. This is something for you to test and continue if it benefits you, just like the Pomodoro Method itself.
Read More: Time Is A Non-Renewable Resource