Time Management: The Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique is a popular time management method developed by an Italian student in the late 1980s.It uses a timer to break work (such as study!) into intervals, typically 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks. Each interval is known as a pomodoro, from the Italian word for tomato. Pomodoro uses focused work sessions and frequent short breaks to promote sustained concentration (the work sessions) and prevent mental fatigue (the frequent breaks).
The technique is effective because the modern world is designed to grab our attention and is full of distractions (for example: how many times have you checked your phone in the last 30 minutes?), so shutting everything to concentrate has become more difficult these days. The Pomodoro technique requires you to focus – but for 25 minutes at a time, which is manageable and at the same time, it's longer that what most people can focus for in the modern world.
The original technique has six steps:
- Decide on the task to be done.
- Set the timer (usually for 25 minutes).
- Work on the task.
- End work when the timer rings and take a short break (typically 5–10 minutes).
- Repeat steps 2-4 (the pomodoro) another three times (so you're doing steps 2-4, FOUR times in total)
- Take a longer break (typically 15 to 20 minutes). Once the long break is finished, start the cycle again
There is one important rule to follow:
Don't break the pomodoro! Especially not to check social media, emails, text messages or any other distraction.
In the event of an unavoidable disruption, take your five-minute break and start again. It's recommended that you note interruptions as they occur and think about how you can avoid them in future Pomodoro sessions
Images: Pomodoro timer by OpenClipart is Public Domain
Pomodoro Technique by Robert Alfis, ETBI Digital Library