I am not new to the concept of the Pomodoro Technique. Many of you might have used this technique to accomplish demanding tasks.
If you already know what this is, move on. There is nothing new for you here. If you’ve never heard about it before, continue reading below. This is a good start.
Honestly, I haven’t actually implemented it fully myself. I have adapted the concept in many instances and integrate it to my home-made productivity habits; but I never implemented it purely the Pomodoro way.
The Pomodor0 Technique itself is an amalgamation of various principles, namely:
1. Time-boxing used in project planning
2. Cognitive techniques by Tony Buzan who is famous for his mind mapping book
3. Dynamic of play as popularized by Hans-Georg Gadamer, a known personality in social science (“Acculturation”, Intercultural Communication, among others). And,
4. Concepts from Tom Gilb’s Principles of Software Engineering Management.
So, a Pomodoro, the Italian term for “tomato”, is the name attributed to the 30-minute window you spend to accomplish a particular task. The formula looks something like this:
25 minutes of work + 5-minute break = 1 Pomodoro
Since we’re dealing only with the very basic of Pomodoro Technique in this post, let me just describe to you the very simplistic implementation of this technique.
To get started, you only need a to-do task list and the Pomodoro Timer (affiliate link) or any 30-minute kitchen timer. Start with your first task in the list. Set the Pomodoro Timer to 30 minutes. Start working. Pay attention to the timer.
If you reach the 25th minute, stop working and take a short 5 minute break. You might get tempted to just continue working but you must stop. You must follow the system. The 5-minute break must be a moment of just “not doing anything” – don’t check email, make calls, or any other source of distraction.
If you finished the task in under 25 minutes, say 10 minutes, don’t stop the time. Use your extra 15 minutes to review the task. The 25-minute rule is set in stone. You cannot go under or over it.
A task may need more than a Pomodoro. Some may need 3 or more. If you reached the fourth Pomodoro, the fourth 25-minute mark, you can take a longer break of 15 to 30 minutes depending on the level of your energy.
You can use this 15-30 minutes to do an activity not related to your current task – like a quick lunch or snack, or maybe exercise. But then you still have to steer clear of any activities that might take your attention away from your tasks.
So, you take a short 5-minute break between Pomodoros, and a longer 15 to 30-minute break after the fourth one. A recommended maximum allotted number of Pomodoros in a task is 5-7. If a task needs more than that, you should consider breaking that tasks into multiple tasks.
This is just the first of the many posts I am planning to write about Pomodoro. The whole principle of the Pomodoro Technique is documented in a book that you can purchase from amazon – The Pomodoro Technique (affiliate link), or you can download the free version of the book at the Pomodoro Technique website.