Now when I say Tomato, I’m referring to the Italian kind, the ’Pomodoro’ technique developed by Francesco Cirillo which is a work vs rewards model breaks down your tasks into 25–minute segments called a ‘Pomodoro’, which is then directly followed by a short work break, after 4 ‘Pomodoro’s you take a longer break. The theory goes, smaller amounts of tasks means increased focus, staying fresh and avoiding procrastination.
The Pomodoro technique isn’t new, it’s been around since the 80’s, and I’ve used it myself on a number of occasions to great effect, but it does depend on your work load, the type of projects that you are working on as well as just remembering to use it in the first place, for me due to my varied work, it isn’t always ideal to use it day in and day out, but for project managers or anyone that has problems hitting deadlines, I strongly recommend you give it a go.
The technique works something like this:
- Create a list of tasks in the order that you want to complete them, then split them up into a ‘Pomodoro Series’ which could be a list of 10 tasks for instance.
- You will need a timer, a smartphone works well but if you want to go old school, you can buy a red tomato timer on Amazon for less than £8. Now set your timer for one Pomodoro (25-minutes) and proceed to start on your first task.
- After 25-minutes your timer will go off, stop working immediately and set a rest timer for 5-minutes, and then tick off the ‘Pomodoro’ as complete, remember that you may not complete a task in 25 minutes, or you may complete a task and start on another in this time frame, what we need to do is tick off the ‘Pomodoro’ from the list and make notes against it. As you get used to working with this technique, your ability to match a ‘Pomodoro’ with a task will increase significantly and so will your productivity, awesome right?
- Once the rest timer has finishes, immediately reset the timer for another ‘Pomodoro’, and then continue to the next task.
- Once 4 Pomodoro’s have been completed, we must take a longer break of 20 minutes.
- We then should repeat steps 3 through 6 until either the tasks are completed, or the Pomodoro list has been exhausted.
It is believed that those who adopt the Pomodoro technique, have more energy, less mental fatigue, they procrastinate less and have an amazing ability to brainstorm new ideas during their break period.
Give it a try, perhaps you can adapt the model, so it suits you better, because really the technique is about setting a dedicated time for tasks, followed by short breaks.
Want to hear how TSG can help you to complete your projects faster and lower your overall project management costs? Get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org