One of my most recommended ways to fight procrastination is The Pomodoro Technique. It also helps you build focus and maintain productivity.
- How to Use It 1. Choosing Tasks 2. Timer setup 3. Break 4. Cycles 5. Rinse and Repeat
- Inform, Negotiate, Call Back - Inform - Negotiate - Call Back
- When to Use It
- Customize It
It is a time management method developed back in the late 1980s by Francesco Cirillo. He was a student who struggled to complete his assignments on time. He used a tomato-shaped kitchen timer for his time management. Pomodoro is basically Tomato in Italian, which is why he named his technique Pomodoro. Since then this technique has become a very popular way to better manage time, and improve productivity around the globe.
The main concept behind this technique is that a big task can be broken down into shorter tasks which can be completed in shorter intervals called "Pomodoros". Each of these small tasks is separated by a short break so that our mind gets a breath of fresh air and avoids burnout.
How to Use It
In theory, all you need is a timer. Whether you use a physical analog/digital timer or use your phone/computer it doesn't matter. Although we recommend having this on the same device as you're working on, so there are fewer distractions and only one screen to focus on. We recommend this Free Pomodoro Timer, which has a built-in Pomodoro timer with a beautiful interface and many options.
You can simply use the traditional Pomodoro, or customize it based on your personal use. More on that below. Keep reading.
But here are the steps to effectively use this technique.
1. Choosing Tasks
Firstly, you have to pick a task or a series of tasks that you wish to accomplish in this 25-minute time. Make sure to not overestimate yourself and choose tasks wisely, based on your potential, we don't want to be disappointed at the end. This is why we recommend taking only 1 task in one session, and not overboard yourself with a bunch of things.
2. Timer setup
Now if you're using our suggested app, then it's all done there for you. But in case you're doing it manually, set the timer to 25-minutes. And as soon as you're ready - hit the start button and continue working on your tasks until the timer goes off. And DO NOT check the timer constantly, just let it run in the background and focus on your work, it'll notify you once the time's up.
Once the timer goes off and 25 minutes have passed, take a short break of 5 minutes. Now, this is not just a silly break, this is a very important short break to let your brain get some quick rest so you can come back stronger. Make sure to physically get up - leave your seat, and the room, and go out, maybe get some fresh air. You don't have to think about work at this time, just chill here.
Maybe get some water, which will add up to your daily intake, awesome! Maybe do some stretching, open up those arms a bit.
After 4 Pomodoro cycles make sure to take a longer break of traditionally 20 minutes. This is a buffer to avoid burnout, and make sure you don't damage your lifestyle because of work, a mix of taking rest and working goes a long way.
5. Rinse and Repeat
You can keep doing the cycles, keep working as long as you wish to. Don't go too heavy on yourself, but don't take it too easy as well. Make sure you follow whatever time you set for yourself and don't get distracted in between, which brings me to the next point.
Since the whole point of those 25 minutes is a focussed time where only work happens. You HAVE TO limit any distractions that might stand your way during the Pomodoro session. Avoid social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, even Youtube. if you feel the urge to get distracted by a cat video, for instance, write that down on a piece of paper or your notebook for later. If you use our recommended Free Pomodoro App it has a distraction pad built-in specifically for this purpose.
Inform, Negotiate, Call Back
Cirillo recommends the Inform, Negotiate, Call Back strategy for when external interruptions happen, e.g. an incoming phone call, or your mom asking you to do something.
Inform the interrupting person politely that you're occupied at the moment.
Without wasting much time, talk to them to delay their demand until you're done, tell them you'll respond to them after you're done with your work. They'll understand.
Simply call that person back who interrupted you, make sure you're not ignoring anyone.
When to Use It
The Pomodoro technique is an incredible way to deal with your procrastination issues. So if you're a college or school student who has some boring subjects but has to complete the assignments at a time, even though you don't find yourself motivated towards finishing that.
This is a quick way to convince your brain into thinking that it's only a small task of 25 minutes only.
And trust me, once you are at the end of that 25-minute session, you will not feel as repelled towards the idea of another session right after a small break. Just getting started could be a bit tricky at the start, but once you nail this down, it's going to feel at home.
Pomodoro is only a template to help you improve your productivity. Feel free to change/modify any part of it based on the tasks you do or the type of person you are.
Nothing fits all, this 25-minute session is a traditional timer that probably works for most people with generic tasks in mind, but it might not work for you.
Maybe instead of a 25-minute session with a 5-minute break. Try a variant of double the work, and double the break. i.e., a 50-minute session with a 10-minute break.
Go ahead try it on the Free Pomodoro App that we recommend, it has full customizations for all of these, and much more.
You have to try this technique for yourself, don't just read this article and feel like it won't work, go ahead give it a shot. What if it works? This could change your life for the better. Try variants of the technique to see what fits your personality.
Time management is crucial to gaining focus and being more productive, make sure to not miss out on opportunities that can change your life for the better. Stay updated!
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