Procrastination Hacks – The Pomodoro Technique

TL;TR (Too Long To Read?)

If this article id too long for you, jump to the end and check the infographic and video about the Pomodoro Technique. It will be enough to get you familiar with it.

But if you want to know more about the “why” behind this technique, then continue reading 😉

What is The Pomodoro Technique?

The Pomodoro Technique is a powerful time management tool that helps you beat procrastination by staying focus and less burned out during your work periods.

This technique was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980’s and it uses a timer to break down the work into uninterrupted intervals of time that are separated by short breaks.

These intervals are called “pomodoros”, that comes from the Italian word “pomodoro” (that means “tomato”) .

Why is it such a powerful tool against Procrastination?

Learn to use time as your ally

The Pomodoro Technique shows you that work is not the enemy, that we don’t need to race against him every time we have to get some work done. This system, while looking so simple, is based on a powerful principle that teaches you to manager you time in a way that it will work with you and not against you.

Decrease your Burnout

The periodic breaks are the core of the Pomodoro Technique. They make sure your brain (and ever your body) rests between working periods which decreases the Burnout feeling that happens after a few hours of work. This way you can work more hours and feel fresher than if you worked just a few. If you follow the system of course!

Reduce Distractions

In the information age, the distractions are countless. Either it’s your phone applications, a call or a social network notification, there is all the time a distraction around the corner.
Following the procedure of taking note of distraction and moving on, gives you the chance to analyze in the end which things are worth do or not in the next Pomodoro. Normally they are not!

If it’s just a friend message on Facebook, feel free to use your break for it.

Helps with a better work/life balance

The math here is simple! Less procrastination and more things done in less time, equals more free time to your family and friends.

– quoted from Pomodoro’s Website

How to use the Pomodoro Technique?

Below is the step-by-step guide to use Pomodoro Technique as a tool to fight procrastination.

1. Make a list of the tasks you want to accomplish

Write down a list of tasks you need to get done. Optionally, try to estimate how many pomodoros you will need for each task for some fast analytics in the end (your estimations will be totally wrong in the beginning but, with time, you will start improving on that).

2. Choose one task to start

Personal opinion, start with the small ones and take them off your list first. It will give you the motivation to tackle the big ones while making you feel less overwhelmed with a big list of tasks still to do.

3. Set the timer to 25 minutes

Make a commitment to yourself: You will spend the next 25 minutes focused on this task and you will avoid any interruption or distraction.

4. Focus on that task until the Pomodoro timer ends

Focus on the task for the next 25 minutes. If during this time you find something else you need to do, write it down on your task list and continue. You will have time for that, but NOT NOW!

5. When the Pomodoro finishes, stop what you’re doing

Congratulations! You started your fight against procrastination by spending 25 minutes of uninterrupted work on this task. Put a check on your ToDo list for one completed Pomodoro on this task.

6. Take a short break

Breathe, eat something, drink some water, move a little, grab a coffee or just do something else outside of work. The idea is to give your head some time to rest from the task, so your barin can stay fresh through out the day.

7. Every four Pomodoros, take a longer break

Once you’ve completed four Pomodoros, you can should take a longer break. Between 15 to 20 minutes to give your brain some rest. Take this opportunity to move a little, your body will appreciate it. During this big break, do some mindless activity that doesn’t require your brain to think so much. You can go for a walk, meditate, so some cleaning or even cooking. If it is something that you love to do, event better. Also don’t forget to eat and keep yourself hydrated.

8. Repeat this cycle from point 2.

After the break go for the next Pomodoro. The task you were working on was finished? If not, focus on her for one more pomodoro. If yes, continue to the next task.

– quoted from Pomodoro’s Website

Having this steps in consideration, and using the recommended 25/5 mins cycles, your Pomodoro cycle will look something like this:

Pomodoro Technique Cycle - Beat Procrastination

Each cycle will take you about 2 hours and  you will be able to accomplish 4 work periods (pomodoros) during that time, while keeping yourself fresh with the short breaks. And the long break will make sure you are even fresher before you start a new cycle.

Infographic and Video

If you’re more of a visual person, here is a really simple infographic (that you can print and take to hang at your work place) and a video explaining all the steps for a successful use of the Pomodoro Technique.

Anti Procrastination Guide

– image from http://elvindantes.com

 

Some Pomodoro Apps

Mobile

Clear Focus

Pomodoro Timer

Pomotodo

Productivity Challenge Timer

Browser Extensions/Apps

Strict Workflow (Also blocks distracting websites)

Pomodoro Timer

Pomodo’more

Web Apps

Lanes (Also Android)

Tomato Timer

TomatoID

Marinara Timer

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