We hear all too often from our clients when they recant times they have had to ‘let go’ a new member of their team, and all too often it’s for such reasons as, ‘they were terribly disorganised’, or ‘they didn’t appear to be motivated much/at all’, or – and most commonly – ‘their time management was atrocious’
We try to make our candidates aware of the Pomodoro Technique, so they can add it to their intellectual arsenal and use it when needed in order to avoid being described in such ways as you read above, but you can only lead a horse to water, of course.
What Is It?
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. It is based on 25-minute stretches of focused work broken by 3-to-5 minute breaks and 15-to-30 minute breaks following the completion of four work periods.
Pomodoro means, ‘tomato’ in Italian, after the tomato-shaped timer he used to track his work as a university student. The methodology is simple: When faced with any large task or series of tasks, break the work down into short, timed intervals (called “Pomodoros”) that are spaced out by short breaks.
This trains your brain to focus for short periods and helps you stay on top of deadlines or constantly-refilling inboxes. With time it can even help improve your attention span and concentration
How Does It Work?
The Pomodoro Technique is one of the simplest productivity methods to put into practice. All you need is a timer. Beyond that, there are no special apps, books, or tools required. Here is how the technique works, step-by-step:
1: Choose a task to be accomplished.
2: Set the Pomodoro to 25 minutes (the Pomodoro is the timer)
3: Work on the task until the Pomodoro rings, then put a check on your sheet of paper
4: Take a short break (5 minutes is OK)
5: Every 4 Pomodoro’s take a longer break
That “longer break” is usually on the order of 15-30 minutes, whatever it takes to make you feel recharged and ready to start another 25-minute work session. Repeat that process a few times over the course of a workday, and you actually get a lot accomplished—and took plenty of breaks to grab a cup of coffee or refill your water bottle in the process.
Who Does It Work Best For?
The Pomodoro Technique is often championed by developers, designers, and other people who must turn out regular work with strict deadlines. Essentially, people who must produce something to be reviewed by others. We think it would be fair to say that it is a technique that applies to anyone, particularly those who wish to increase their efficiency.
And finally, it’s important to remember that Pomodoro is a productivity system – not a religious doctrine. If you’re making headway and the timer goes off, it’s okay to pause the timer, finish what you’re doing, and only then take a break. The goal is to help you get into the zone and focus – but it’s also to remind you to come up for air.