Essential Tools for my daily routine - The Pomodoro Techique
I've found myself tweeting three times this week about my love of the Pomodoro technique, so I thought it would be a good time to finally write a blog post about it. This has been on my list for a while as part of my "Essential tools for my daily routine" series.
I think a lot of us struggle with concentration when working from home (or in general at the moment!). While I absolutely love working from home, the distractions are different to those in the office. This is where I think the Pomodoro technique fits in.
I can't remember when I first heard of it but I remember someone having bought me my own little Tomato timer (Pomodoro is Spanish for tomato!) when I was studying for my marketing diploma in 2016/7 so I reckon I've been using it at least 5 years!
The Pomodoro technique is a super simple but really effective productivity tool. It was invented by Francesco Cirillo in the 80s, and there's loads you can read about it online, but it basically boils down to this - you set a timer for 25 minutes, work solidly without distractions for that time, then after 25 minutes you get a 5 minute break.
Sounds too simple to work, right?
But it totally does!
You won't believe how much you can get done in 25 minutes, and if you're struggling a break is never too far away. A five minute break gives you some time to check your emails, walk around, make a drink, check your phone.
And then you get straight back to it.
I use it every single day of working from home (and I've done it in the office before, though it's hard to avoid some distractions in the office completely!). I use tomato-timer.com as my timer, plus as website blocker app which also has a Pomodoro version (it's called Block Site for Chrome).
If I want to super focus I close my email and Slack too for the 25 minutes, and I always work with my phone in another room. (If your phone is an issue, I highly recommend downloaded Forest App - another app I need to write about!)
After 25 minutes I can go pet my dog, make a drink, say Hi to Phil, check the news, have a little break. Then I can jump straight back in!
I have to be honest, I don't use it religiously for every single minute of my working day, especially as sometimes you need to be available on email or Slack, especially working from home. Purists would restart a timer as soon as they got distracted, and make a note of every single Pomodoro they completed, or ensure they are straight back to work after 5 minutes (to be honest my kettle is pretty slow!) but hey, times are hard so do what you can!
Some days I only manage a couple of Pomodoros a day, other days, especially if I have big projects to work on, I can resurface, blinking into the sun, after hours of Pomodoro-ing!
It doesn't have to be for work either. While I was furloughed I did loads of online courses and I used it for that, but it could also work for tasks like cleaning and tidying when you're finding it hard to get motivated!
I hope this was helpful and please let me know if you try it!