“Divide et impera”– Julias Caesar
At a time when the Roman ruler was devising a plan to win a war, thousands of years later, in a similar universe, Cirilo, an Italian university student was devising a plan to ward off a war named WORK. His inspirations? Tomatoes.
Why tomatoes you think? What did those juicy, succulent, red cuties ever do to be used in a “war”? Nothing. They are as innocent as you, the reader, trying to get hold of your jaded life. But not to worry. A technique called POMODORO (Italian for tomatoes) can come white-knighting to the rescue.
Francesco Cirilo in the late 1980s came up with this method where you can use a timer to divide your work into certainly manageable chunks, you get 25 minutes usually to get your work done and then you get a 5-minute break, and you’re supposed to repeat this cycle four times. The interval referred to as Pomodoro is a tomato-shaped timer that the innovator used while developing this method. After every 25 minutes, the Pomodoro rings to remind you that you have completed the session and that now you are to rejuvenate for the next one. Pomodoro’s greatest strength is its simplicity.
Let’s look into the six traditional steps of pulling off a Pomodoro :
1. Get a timer:
Get a to-do list and a timer. Productivity coaches prefer that you use a mechanical timer instead of a rather technological approach (i.e. various applications available on the internet) since those can mess with your focus.
2. A 25-minute timer:
Set your timer to 25 minutes and work on a single task or a single chunk of a task.
3. The Pomodoro once set, has to ring:
Keep working on the task until the timer rings. And even if you finish a task before the scheduled interval, you should evaluate your work, try ameliorating it and review the plans for the upcoming session for increased precision until the Pomodoro stops ticking and starts ringing. This is a prerequisite for Pomodoro to be effective.
4. 5-minute break:
Take a 5- minute break. This is the recharging session.
5. Another Pomodoro:
Resume your work and continue it for another 25 minutes.
6. Four Pomodoros:
After completing four Pomodoros like this, take a long break of 20-30 minutes. After the break return to step 2 if needed.
Described above is the traditional approach. Your job is to figure out the ideal cycle for you, you will understand how many Pomodoros a task takes with practice.
What can you do in the 5-minute break? A LOT.
You can do a little workout or make yourself a healthy drink or simply listen to some uplifting music or just shut yourself off from everything offline and online to get rid of the weariness that the 25 minutes work period gave. If your work sessions take place on electronic devices, do away with screens as a whole, try to stretch, breathe some fresh air no matter how ergonomic your workstation might already be.
Pomodoro to this day remains one simple method that turned out to be one of the most effective time-management hacks. Thinking in tomatoes instead of hours sure makes the technique sound silly but its contribution to the boosting of productivity turns the tables. It provides you with a better understanding of your limited time for a task and sustained focus and flow which lets you put up a good fight against the numerous distractions.
Although different people have different ways of getting things done effectively and efficiently, for people with short attention spans and open-ended work structures, POMODORO has been a liberator. The fast-paced world requires your peak level of efficiency and Pomodoro in its wake exists to serve you exactly that. To make steady progress with your work try this out without further ado.