As a business owner or manager, you have many tasks you need to do. Keeping your business organized on a to-do list is a great way to keep track of what’s important. However, getting all of the things on your list done on schedule is often a challenge. The pomodoro technique can be your best friend to help get them done. The key is to avoid interruptions and to take scheduled breaks.
The pomodoro technique also works great for high school and college students. Having a pre-defined time to answer their messages and review social media helps to keep them focused on the work for longer periods. This results in more work getting done overall due to fewer interruptions and an enhanced sense of accomplishment.
What is the Pomodoro Technique?
The pomodoro technique divides your time into periods of focused work and breaks. The standard is 25 minutes of concentrated work followed by a 5 miute break. After the fourth work interval, take a 20 minute break. It really is that simple, and it is easy to get started.
1: Sort Your List
Start every morning with a fresh look at what work needs to get done. Order your tasks by priority and make an estimate of how much time each will take. Fill your daily list with only as much work as you believe you can complete. Over time, this step will become easier and more accurate.
2: Start Your Timer and Get to Work
Start your timer and get to work on the task at the top of your list. Do not stop to check your text messages or your email. Let your calls go to voice mail if you can. If you must answer, quickly defer the conversation until you can return the call during a regularly scheduled break or add the call as a task to your to-do list. The goal is to spend the entire 25 minutes doing just that task without any internal or external interruptions.
When the timer expires, start your 5 minute break (and timer). It is during this time that you can check email or other messages, get up out of your chair and move, or just relax. Continue with the next 25 minute work interval.
For the fourth break, instead of 5 minutes, take 20. This time can be used to handle any longer interruptions you may have deferred.
When each to-do item is done, check it off and move on immediately to the next. They do not need to line up with breaks.
3: There is no Step Three
That’s all there is to it. It is a very simple method, but it is very effective. Don’t forget to break for lunch, too!
Pomodoro Technique Timer
Any timer will work as a pomodoro technique timer — even a basic wind-up kitchen timer. The drawback to a manual timer is you have to set it every time. With the growing popularity of the pomodoro technique, many apps for smart phones and web browsers are available. If you just want to experiment, search for “pomodoro timer” on Google and pick one that runs in your web browser. These will be simple web apps where you click the start button and it will do the rest of the work running the timers for you. The apps for smart phones also work similarly. There are new ones available all the time so read the reviews to find one that works nicely and doesn’t have advertising.