Posted on February 25, 2021 by Kate Halsall

If I told you that this blog has taken 2 Pomodoros to write, do you instantly think about tomatoes? Well, funnily enough – so did I, but it’s not. The Pomodoro Technique is a time management system which not only says “it’s ok to take breaks” but it is designed around those breaks. With a tag line of “work smarter, not harder”, this system is about maximising productivity for those multitaskers out there – and although I’m still trying to perfect it, I love it!

How Does It Work?

Here’s how I use this system:

  • Pick a task – if you use the system properly, you split your day into “pomodoros” and we’ll come to that below, but for now let’s pick a task – a document (or blog!) that you need to write that you have been putting off.
  • Set a timer for 25mins – this is the length of a Pomodoro.
  • Immerse yourself uninterrupted – you do whatever you need to do to ensure you are fully focused and uninterrupted for 25 minutes whilst you work on the task. Turn off email notifications, silence your phone, set your instant chat to do not disturb. This is 25 mins of focus.
  • When that alarm rings, take a short break – just 2-3 minutes away from a computer or screen of any kind to clear your head. Grab a brew, stand outside and get some fresh air, anything away from your work desk.
  • Pick another task (or choose to continue with the same task) and repeat the process.
  • After 4-5 Pomodoros, take a 30minute break. This allows your brain to rest before the next timer is set.

If you are using this system “properly”, you utilise to-do lists. List what you have on that day before you start work. Split up big tasks into 25 min blocks – so things like writing documents, planning, prep for a meeting etc. Group together smaller tasks into 25 min blocks: answering/checking emails; listening to voicemail and responding and so on. Fit these Pomodoro blocks around any meetings that you have that day and go for it.

Why Does It Work?

Ok, let’s be honest, it’s not going to work for everyone. BUT, here’s a scary statistic for you….research has shown that on average we have an attention span of 14 minutes. 14 minutes!!! And it’s so low purely because of multitasking making it really difficult to focus on just one thing. The Pomodoro Technique embraces this low attention span and combines it with multitasking whilst at the same time saying – hey stop sitting for hours on end, go and have a break and refocus.

And if this all seems a little too much for you, then that’s ok. I would just challenge you to consider when was the last time you sat down to do some work and didn’t look at your phone or reply to an email half way through. When did you last write a document without your mind wondering. And then lastly, when was the last time you took a break away from the computer………..

Of course, we should stress here that we’re in no way sponsored by the makers of the Pomodoro Technique, but sometimes whilst we know we should be having regular breaks – it takes someone to give you a good kick up the bum to make sure you have one!

Read more on the official Technique here.