It’s fun saying the word “pomodoro”. I probably pronounce it wrong(because I pronounce a lot of things wrong), but it’s still fun to say it.
I discovered this word because a ton of productivity gurus talked about it. They wrote about it. They said it changed their life when it came to getting things done. So who doesn’t want that?
I feel like I have an endless list of tasks to do. Every day I would look at the list and it magically got bigger instead of getting smaller. Typical stuff I had on my todo list:
- Write a blog post
- update a landing page
- checkout a webinar
- email a client a proposal
- setup some emails to be sent out
- work on some design graphics
- Random to-do notes that I couldn’t even remember what I was telling myself to-do
Instead of crossing things off the list, it got bigger. And I always felt like I was getting behind. See, I’m a perfectionist. I work on something for awhile until I think it’s good enough. While that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it means it takes me a lot longer to get things done.
Why does it take so long to get things done?
For me, it really came down to distractions. I get instant email notifications when someone opens my emails. So of course, I have to go over to gmail and double check what email it was that I had sent that person. Why? Who knows. I just do it.
I also have Facebook Messenger open all the time. I keep music going on my headphones and if something comes on that I’m not digging right then, I
need have to open Spotify and find a new song to play. Oh yeah, and shiny object syndrome.
“I’m Tylor and I have shiny object syndrome.”
Look it up, it is a real thing. And if you are an entrepreneur, a creative mind, or the slightest inclination to not want to work for other people, then you might have it too. It happens a lot to entrepreneurs because our minds are ALWAYS going at 100mph.
I don’t have a day where a dozen startup ideas don’t pop into my head. Writing a blog post.. boom you have the best ideas for a new business to start. So I don’t write the blog post and, instead, I look to see if there is a lot of competition, how I could bootstrap the idea to get going, or maybe I post a few co-founder ads to see if anyone wants to join this groundbreaking idea. Next thing I know, two hours are gone and that blog post didn’t get written. Sigh. Oh yeah and I never even launched that groundbreaking startup idea. Double sigh.
So what is a Pomodoro and why is it good?
Okay so a Pomodoro is…. tomato sauce. Yeah, that’s what it is. Tomato sauce. I found it on Google and Google knows its stuff.
What does tomato sauce have to do with productivity? Nothing. But the POMODORO TECHNIQUE is all about productivity.
The Pomodoro Technique
Very simply, it helps you work with your time instead of working against it. The guy that invented this technique (back in the 1980s) actually got the name from a kitchen cooking timer that was in the shape of a tomato. Want a little background on it? Check out the wiki on the Pomodoro technique.
Heres’s how it works in super simple steps:
- Create a list of things you need to do
- Find a timer. You can use your phone or a website to do this.
- Set the timer for 25 minutes
- Work on ONE TASK. Just one! Don’t do anything else. Focus on one task, ignore emails, ignore text messages, even if someone tries to talk to you, ignore them. This is all about working on one thing for a solid 25 minutes.
- After 25 minutes, put a check mark next to that to-do item.
- You’re done. You just completed your first Pomodoro!
- Take a 5-minute break
- Start at step 1 again with the current task, or a new one if you got everything done you needed to do.
- After you complete 4 Pomodoro’s in a row, take a 15-minute break.
That’s it. That’s all you do. So how does this even help you get more things done? Let’s continue..
Why the Pomodoro Technique works
The Pomodoro technique is all about working with time. We all say “we don’t have enough time” to do this or that.
If only I had more time, I could get more things done every day. – Everyone
Sound like you? Well, that’s the wrong thinking. You need to use the time you have and be super efficient and knock things out. The way you do that is working on one thing at a time.
If you do things correctly, that 25 minutes will typically help you start very simple tasks and be done with them. If you have a few longer tasks, it may take you two or three Pomodoro’s to get it done. The goal isn’t necessarily getting the task done in that 25-minute block. It’s all about working hard for 25 minutes.
But all these breaks we take.. that is really eating into my time
Hold on! It’s actually not. If you are doing the Pomodoro technique correctly, it’s not eating your time. It’s making you more efficient.
So you are thinking..
alright, I knock out 3 Pomodoro’s and I get a 5-minute break after each. After my 4th, I get a 15-minute break.
25 minutes of work (4 times) = 100 minutes.
all the breaks = 30 minutes.
How am I getting work done when I am taking 30 minutes of breaks about every hour and a half?
Because when you are in those breaks, do other things that would normally distract you. That includes (but not limited to):
- Checking and responding to email
- Responding to a text, facebook messages, and snapchat
- going to the bathroom
- getting a snack
- Reading blog posts on the internet
- Watching cat videos
- Asking someone for some feedback or their opinion on things you are working on
- Making a call to a client
When you do these things in the allotted 5-minute break, you will find that is about all the time you really need. Once 5 minutes are over, start on your next Pomodoro. But did you need to respond to more emails? Gonna have to wait another 25 minutes. Sorry. That’s the way it works. You will thank me later.
My personal goals
Now I’m not saying I’m perfect at this. There are times where I have done the Pomodoro technique for days, even weeks, straight and I got a TON of stuff done. Then there are other days that I don’t use the pomodoro technique and I’m barely treading water to get by. I definitely notice an increase in my productivity when I am working on a task in terms or a Pomodoro.
I try to knock out 8 Pomodoro’s in one day. If I get that, I feel really good about it.
For example, I try to spend only 3 Pomodoro’s when I write a blog post. If I do that, I have a blog post in 90 minutes. That includes images, editing, re-reading numerous times, and then adding it into an email sequence.
When I try to write a blog post and not do it with Pomodoro’s, guess what happens? I very rarely get it done. It literally doesn’t happen. I never write, I don’t even start. (Those shiny objects get me every time!)
Now that you have an idea about managing your time more efficiently, I really hope you give it a try. I’d love to hear how your experience goes too.
Comment on this post and share your current struggles. If you have given the Pomodoro technique a try, comment and let everyone know what you think of it!
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