The Pomodoro Technique
First published: May 22, 2012
To help boost my productivity, I’ve recently started looking into the Pomodoro Technique. Essentially, it breaks tasks down into 25 minute chunks (called Pomodoros) with 5 minute breaks in between, and a 15 minute break every 4 chunks.
I first tried using an online version, but found it to be too clunky for my tastes. I tried a few Android apps instead, and settled on Pomodroido after poking around for a few minutes. I wasn’t fond of the red color scheme, but that’s really a minor concern, and didn’t find a problem with the rest of the app.
Here are the things I learned.
- Intentionally enabling the ‘ticking’ noise boosted my productivity. I had read somewhere (not sure where) that one way to increase productivity is to associate the ticking noise with ‘work time’. It also added a mild sense of urgency that prevented me from procrastinating, and compelled me to keep working when I normally would have drifted off. I suppose the ticking noise serves as an auditory reminder that I’m supposed to be working, and unlike music, doesn’t distract me.
- It’s easier to motivate yourself to work when you think in terms of 25-minute stretches of time. I had 30 minutes to spare earlier today in class, and instead of browsing the internet like I normally do, I got some homework out of the way after realising I had time to do one Pomodoro. I was also able to motivate myself to do an unpleasant task by promising to do only one Pomodoro – but by the time 25 minutes had rolled by, I was already in the flow and was able to continue working on to finish it.
- Besides just thinking in terms of 25 minutes, another key aspect I found to keep me motivated was how Pomodroido kept track of how many Pomodoros I was able to do per day. It’s a nice touch of gamification, and being able to see how many hours I had worked in a day (compared to before) allows you to finish on a high note.
- Five minutes is the perfect period of time to heat up and eat a s’more :D
Some other ‘commitments’ I made to myself based on other articles on productivity I read were:
- Trying to establish a pattern of doing as many Pomodoros as I can in a row. I didn’t want to slip into a pattern of brief bursts of productivity followed by nonproductivity, so I’m trying to train myself to avoid that habit to begin with.
- Drawing up a todo list, and picking away at all the tiny tasks that I keep thinking about, even if they aren’t a critical priority. I used to delay doing some chores or other obligations because they either had a longer time frame or weren’t as high of a priority then other tasks or homework assignments I had to do. This simply had the effect of distracting me from concentrating on my work. Now, I try to get all the tiny and distracting things out of the way so I can work on the more important things later, mentally unencumbered. I’ve yet to determine if this strategy will pay off or not.