The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. The technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks. These intervals are named pomodoros, the plural in English of the Italian word pomodoro (tomato), after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer that Cirillo used as a university student.
I have been using this technique for one month more or less. A couple of weeks ago, I introduced it to my colleagues in my regular work too. But, how all this started to immerse? Thanks to John Sonmez great book and blog again!! The first time I read about it was there! Thanks Jonh once again..
What is a pomodoro?
Basically, a pomodoro is half an hour of time. This half an hour consists of 25 minutes of real, focused and hard work and a 5 minute break. Every 4 pomodoros you take a 15 minute break. After this, it is a matter of repetition.
How it works
The basic concept behind this technique is that the human mind gets distracted after a while. Noise, Facebook, sudden thoughts, some colleague, a telephone call can easily distract the focus on a task at hand. This way though you organize your time efficiently and productively. You only have to stay focused for 25 minutes. After this you reward yourself and your mind with a break (the break length varies, see above). You give your mind a refresh in fixed intervals so it does not get burnt. The bigger break also aids to digest more easily the workload from the previous 4 pomodoros.
In addition, you easily build momentum by knowing that you can break down every task possible into small chucks of intensive work. Moreover, you track down the exact time a task needs to be done. Therefore, in the future you can more accurately precalculate the amount of time needed or better to say how many pomodoros a similar task with take to complete.
I have found an awesome application for my Android device. It is called Productivity Challenge Timer. This app is one of the best apps I have ever seen and used in my life. It has exactly the functionality for the Pomodoro technique plus features like stats, ranks and achievements (so the whole process is gamified), backups, settings and humor (lots of it).
Productivity Challenge Timer: basic usage
You start by defining a project. You give it a descriptive name and then you can start with the pomodoro timer. Every pomodoro is recorded and this way you get to know the exact time you have worked on a project. AWESOME! There are sounds and text messages which challenge you to get to work and stop slacking e.g coach’s whistle sound and things like “Why aren’t you working?”. I bought the app for 2.49$ if I recall correctly. Now, I have unlimited projects and unlocked achievements! Great job and way to go to the developer!
PS: there is a + button to add some time while you are in a pomodoro, probably for the case that somehow you got distracted and cheated on yourself ;). And, the ultimate killer is the infinite button: I pushed that by accident without knowing and suddenly, I couldn’t see a break or a start work button. The transition from work to break was automatic. This thing was pushing me to exhaustion, I thought it was probably because I had reached the 3rd level from the top ranks, I hated it because I was chasing the clock without stop! Until I ‘ve found out IT WAS THE INFINITE BUTTON’ s fault… hahaha and revert to manual start-stops!!
But, at this point I think I wrote too much. I will continue this article and how I managed to setup my studying and working routine in the next post. Cheers!