A cute time management technique: Pomodoro!

The story about how the Pomodoro technique came about is really simple.

An Italian university student was having a hard time focusing on his university assignments. Finally, he decided to focus on studying for a short period of time, and then take a short break after. He went to the kitchen and took a tomato-shaped kitchen timer to use to time himself, and that’s how the name Pomodoro – which means “Tomato” in Italian – came about.

Can you imagine focusing on a productive task in short 25 minute sprints, and then taking a break for 5 minutes, and repeating that step for the whole day?

I did exactly that a few days ago, and instantly became a whole lot more productive. Starting from 6am, I had my pomodoro timer on, a digital one of course. It’s called Pomofocus. Here it is:

Link to Pomofocus, a very simple-to-use, adless Pomodoro timer.
Disclaimer: I don’t own this site! Just recommending it because it is really useful.
It is even red-orangey in colour, just like a tomato!

Here’s how the famous Pomodoro Technique works: You work for 25 minutes (Pomodoro) and take a 5 minute break (Short Break), and you do this for 4 rounds. Then, in the 5th round, you also work for 25 minutes (Pomodoro), but you get a longer break this time: a 15 minute break (Long Break).

It will look something like this:
25 mins work + 5 min break
25 mins work + 5 min break
25 mins work + 5 min break
25 mins work + 5 min break
25 mins work + 15 min break

And you keep repeating the 5 rounds above!
For me personally, instead of working for just 25 minutes, I work for 30 minutes. But that is entirely up to you! You can adjust the time period for Pomodoro, Short Break and Long Break (as seen in the image above) by clicking on the SETTING button (top right of the image).

The first thing that I realized this technique did for me was, since I had become much more conscious of every half an hour I spent, I did not sleep and laze around as much as I usually did. In fact, on my first day of trying out this technique, I hardly lazed around at all. I filled my half an hours with productive things like playing the piano, doing a little bit of studying, cooking, reading the news, etc.

The second thing was that since I was working or doing one of these things in short 30 minute bursts, I would focus on trying to reach a goal by that half an hour. Setting these small milestones made it so much less of a burden to get something done!

All in all, it was quite fun to see just how much I could do, if I just paid a little more attention to where my time was actually going.

Right now, I have actually stopped using the Pomodoro Technique full time, and have decided to use it only when I am studying. The Pomodoro Technique was originally meant to be used for studying anyway, not to time everything in your day’s schedule from your breakfast to the time you take to cook! However, now I am thinking if I should fix certain days of the week where I incorporate the Pomodoro Technique for the entire day. This is because although it is a little exhausting at first, it is very motivating to see how much you can achieve in a day when you fill each and every one of your 30 minutes with productive activities. (Or 25 minutes, depending on how you set the timer.)

Note that, by productive work, I do NOT necessarily mean you have to be studying or working on daily chores. It can be anything you like, your hobbies, or spending time with your family. The main goal of the Pomodoro Technique is to allow you to become aware of the time you spend daydreaming and lazing around.

So there you have it, a cool time management technique, and a very cute sounding one too, named after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer. Do let me know if after reading this you have decided to apply this technique, or if you know of any other cool time managing methods!

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