” Time and tide wait for none”. No matter how many times we hear or see this clichéd quote, not all of us actually understand the essence of these words. Time management is an essential skill for aspirants of all kinds. In this fast-evolving world, one must keep up par with others to achieve their goal. The fact that smart work is better than hard work is of the essence. Productivity is smart work. One such method to maintain productivity in our daily life is the Pomodoro technique.
Pomodoro technique is a time management method where a timer is used to break down the work at hand into intervals, separated by short breaks. This method was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. Each interval is called a ‘Pomodoro’ the Italian word for tomato, the tomato-shaped kitchen timer that Cirillo used as a college student.
The original technique has 6 steps
1. Choose a task you would like to get done
No matter how small or big the task is, it deserves your full undivided attention.
2. Set the timer for 25 minutes
Keep a promise to yourself that you don’t interrupt yourself for just 25 minutes. You can use your mobile timer or a good old clock for timing your session.
3. Work on the task until the timer rings
Immerse yourself. Meanwhile, if you remember anything other than the work at hand, write it down on a sheet of paper. You can give them thought later.
4. When the timer rings, tick off your completed task
Hurray! You have given your undivided attention to the task for 25 minutes.
5. Take a short break
Take a deep breath, meditate, grab a cup of your favourite beverage go for a stroll or do something that is relaxing for your brain to reward yourself.
6. After every 4 Pomodoros take a longer break
A break of 20 to 30 minutes is good enough to rest, preview the information and prepare yourself for the next set of Pomodoros.
To make the best out of these Pomodoro sessions you can:
- Use the first few minutes of the session to review what you have done earlier.
- Set up a timetable and try to be devoted to it.
- You can use airplane mode or do not disturb mode on your mobile. (Apply only if you are not accountable for not picking up calls 🙂
- Be mindful of the shorter breaks. They might prolong at times, thus unsettling your next Pomodoro cycle.
- Understand your body — find out which part of the day you are most productive. This can work wonders and get a lot of things done.
The rules of the Pomodoro technique are not necessarily rigid. If you are not able to pull up 4 Pomodoros continuously, opt for one or two Pomodoros in a day. At the end of the day, what matters the most is how much productive and focus you are in those sessions and how much work gets done. You can also vary the time interval as 50/10 (50 minutes of focus and 10 minutes of break) instead of the traditional 25/5 technique if you are quite confident about your focus.
This technique is useful if you feel distracted or overwhelmed to focus on what matters to you. It has worked well for me in this lockdown and has helped a lot in my exam preparations. Hope it works for you too!