Personal Care

Learn How to Use Pomodoro Technique – A Guide to the Art of The Pomodoro Timer

pomodoro method

How to Use Pomodoro Technique

If you’re anything like me, it can be extremely difficult to get anything work-related done until the very last possible minute. I have been a pro-procrastinator for so much of my life, putting off essays until the night before or even hours before they’re due, cleaning my house minutes before guests arrive, or letting my hair get so long that other people comment on it before I can bring myself to go get a haircut. Why do today what you can do tomorrow?

In truth, my procrastination has always been something of a setback for me. The results of my hurried work are typically sloppier and less well researched than the work that could be possible if I just give myself a little more time to get it done. Not to mention how much stress leaving something to the last moment brings me and those around me.

Thankfully, after years of procrastinating almost all the things that I need to get done, I found something that works for me. It is called the Pomodoro technique or the Pomodoro method and it has seriously helped me work on projects in a timely manner and get things done in a way I can be proud of. I use the Pomodoro technique for productivity, and it’s honestly easier than many of the other tricks I have tried in the past to get me to stop procrastinating. Does the Pomodoro technique work? I say yes! So do many of my peers and family members who have similar problems. Because I swear by this technique, I’ve decided to write a little Pomodoro technique guide to help others beat procrastination.

What is the Pomodoro Technique?

The Pomodoro technique is a productivity method that chunks up your time into shorter, more manageable intervals. You set a timer for 15 or 20 minutes, so you can focus completely on your work for a short amount of time. Because the amount of time is much shorter than say your whole evening or the entire week before your project is due, you are far more likely to be willing to just do it instead of putting it off. Once you’ve gotten started with your 20 minutes of intense focus on only your work, you might find that you get into a flow, and you’re able to get more than 20 minutes of work done, but in keeping with the true Pomodoro technique, after the twenty minutes are done you set another timer for a 10-minute break and then if you need to, restart it for another 20 minutes of focused work.

How to Use the Pomodoro Technique

pomodoro technique guide

There are many Pomodoro techniques uses, but essentially you can use this technique for anything that you are having a hard time getting crossed off of your to-do list. People like to use the pomodoro technique for studying, writing a paper or an essay, getting a report done, doing taxes, cleaning the house, filling out important documents, sorting out your budget, filling out an application, researching, data input, or any other work that you have hanging over your head. You simply set the timer, do your work for that short spurt of time, and then take a break. It doesn’t work as well for activities like cooking, caring for others, or shopping because these things usually take specific amounts of time, but there are some things that you can do the preliminary work for using the Pomodoro technique or use a similar technique like chunking to get what you need to do in smaller segments, so it doesn’t become overwhelming. If you break up what you need to do into small digestible parts it can make it much easier to simply say “Okay, I can get this part done, no problem” and then just continue until all the chunks are done.

Pomodoro Technique Steps

So how do you actually do the Pomodoro timer technique? First off, you will want to get all of your work materials together, so everything is in one place, and you can get started without interruptions. You will want to find a quiet and peaceful place to do your work, again to limit distraction and interruption. If you like to listen to music, and you know that helps with your focus you can play music, I prefer music without lyrics at a low level. You can put your phone on airplane mode or “do not disturb” so that you don’t have to work to tune out the vibration of a text or a FaceTime call from your friend. Then get a timer and set it for 15 or 20 minutes. During these 15-20 mins you will not do anything but your work. Don’t look at your emails, don’t start watching T.V. don’t get distracted, and start organizing your closet by color. The only thing that you’re doing in those 15-20 minutes is what you’ve set out to get done. If you need to adjust that time to work more easily for you, you can do anywhere from 10-40 minutes at a time. Once you’ve completed the time you can either set your timer again immediately or take a 10-minute break and then set your timer again until the work is done, or you’re satisfied with the day’s progress.

What to Do During Pomodoro Breaks

In the interval between Pomodoros you shouldn’t start up a project that will take your entire concentration away from the task at hand. You can do something mindless like relax on the couch and listen to music, but you don’t want to get into a wormhole by clicking on a YouTube video that will lead you to watch 2 hours on the composition of the earth’s core or political debates against children and the elderly. Try to stick to things you know won’t take over your entire afternoon and keep you from completing a couple more rounds of focused work. Eat a snack, go to the bathroom, answer a few emails, and then get back to it after that short refresher. You can do this! It’s only 20 minutes! You might also find that once you’ve gotten the 20 minutes done you don’t need to take a break, or you feel that you’re in the zone. If this happens, good! You can continue until you feel like stopping. If it doesn’t happen you are entitled to your break by the rules of the Pomodoro technique. The goal is to get over the difficulty of starting the task on your to-do list that seems daunting. Once you start it is a lot easier to continue, so by telling yourself you just have to do a little you can get progress done productively and have time left over to proofread and perfect.

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