Procrastination is one of the biggest killers for productivity. Fact. We need a certain amount of productivity to complete tasks we need to get done both at work and at home but one can be easily distracted by the likes of social media, a flash ASOS sale and general office chit chat! Luckily, there’s a simple but effective time-management technique that many successful people use to be more productive and time-efficient created by Francesco Cirillo called The Pomodoro Technique. If you haven’t heard of it, read on as Francesco explains his successful method!
The basic idea for the Pomodoro Technique came to me in the late 1980s, during my first years at college. Once the elation from completing my first-year examinations had subsided, I found myself in a slump, a time of low productivity and high confusion. Every day I went to school, attended classes, and returned home with the disheartening feeling that I didn’t know what I’d been doing, that I’d been wasting my time. The exam dates came up so fast, and it seemed that I had no way to defend myself against the passing of time.
One day in the classroom on campus where I used to study, I watched my classmates with a critical eye and then looked even more critically at myself: how I got myself organized, how I interacted with others, how I studied. It was clear that the high number of distractions and interruptions and the low level of concentration and motivation were at the root of the confusion I was feeling.
I asked myself a question that was as helpful as it was humiliating: “Can you study—really study—for ten minutes?” I needed objective validation, a Time Tutor, and I found one in a kitchen timer shaped like a pomodoro (Italian for tomato)—in other words, I found my Pomodoro.
I didn’t win the bet I made with myself about studying right away. In fact, it took time and a great deal of effort, but in the end, I succeeded.
In that first small step, I found something intriguing in the Pomodoro mechanism. With this new tool, I devoted myself to improving my study process and later my work process. I tried to understand and solve more and more complex problems, to the point of considering the dynamics of teamwork.
Goals of the pomodoro technique
The aim of the Pomodoro Technique is to provide a simple tool/ process for improving productivity (your own and that of your team). It can do the following:
- Alleviate anxiety
- Enhance focus and concentration by cutting down on interruptions
- Increase awareness of one’s decisions
- Boost motivation and keep it constant
- Bolster the determination to achieve one’s goals
- Re ne the estimation process in both qualitative and quantitative terms
- Improve one’s work or study process
- Strengthen one’s determination to keep applying one’s self
The Pomodoro Technique is founded on three key elements:
a different way of seeing time that no longer is focused on the concept of becoming. This alleviates anxiety and thus leads to enhanced personal effectiveness.
better use of the mind. This enables us to achieve greater clarity of thought, higher consciousness, and sharper focus while facilitating learning.
the employment of easy-to-use, unobtrusive tools. This reduces the complexity of applying the technique while favouring continuity and allows us to concentrate our efforts on the goals we want to accomplish. Many time-management techniques fail because they add another level of complexity to the intrinsic complexity of the task at hand.
The Pomodoro Technique by Francesco Cirillo (Virgin Books, £8.99)