“It’s time to take a break,” is probably not what you expect to hear at work very often. After all, we have been taught that diligence and constant vigilance is the key to being good at what you do.
What if I told you that we have been taught wrong all our lives?
Curious much? Then allow me to introduce you to the POMODORO system of time management! A technique that helps you get more productive without burning yourself out.
Go ahead, take a break
Developed in the 1980s by Francesco Cirillo, the name of this technique means “tomato” in Italian, inspired by Cirillo’s college timer that sparked this genius idea. And the process? It’s quite simple if you think about it. It doesn’t need you to make startling changes to your work habits, for starters. It just encourages you to break up your job into bite-sized portions, making things easily palatable.
How? By tackling each segment of work for 25 minutes and taking a break for 5!
Recipe to get refreshed
While you can kick off using this technique at any given point in time, given that it barely requires any preparation, there are some things you must always keep in mind, apart from having a timer handy, that is!
- Know what you have to do
Unless you have an idea about what you have to do, getting them done is not going to be easy. So make a list of the tasks you need to get done. Preferably in order of priority.
- Set your timer for 25 minutes
While it does seem easier to keep an eye on your watch instead of being rudely interrupted by an alarm, you’ll be surprised to realise how engrossed we can get in whatever we’re doing unless snapped out of it.
- Track your task
Apart from making a list, it is important to see how you did in 25 minutes. Whether the task could be completed, whether it was adequate, whether you are biting off more than you can chew can easily be seen with proper task-tracking.
- If a distraction pops up, don’t try to fight it.
Fighting distractions is harder than you think it is. The more you try to fight, sadly, the more your mind will wander. So the best thing to do is give in to your thoughts, but not immediately.
This also works as a great reward system for those who are just starting off and need that extra push to get through 25 minutes without giving in to procrastination.
- Take a five minute break
You’ll be surprised to see how much of a difference these breaks make. Starting from doing simple things like keeping yourself hydrated and stretching to keep those work pains at bay and ending with quickly catching up on thoughts that distracted you, these five minute breaks help refresh you for your next 25 minute haul.
- Every 4 POMODOROs, reward yourself with a 30-minute break
Longer breaks mean more time for yourself. The key to working well is not working all the time. It just means working efficiently and one of the things that make you efficient at work is taking care of things that are important outside work.
- Repeat as needed
Getting into the groove might be harder than you think initially. But once you do get used to the technique, you’ll see things are actually different. They are in fact, better.
Rest to the rescue
Productivity hacks, are not a new thing. Starting from collating smaller tasks to create a larger, more important task and ending with customisable sleep schedules, enough and more experts have weighed in, trying their best to help us be at our most productive.
So a technique that encourages us to use our work hours in a more efficient way, allowing us to do more than work all the time is exactly what we need to keep our work and personal lives perfectly balanced. While some of us take great pride in being workaholics, some of us firmly believe that “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”