copyright: mastermind maps

A few weeks ago we wrote about the concept of “pulsing and resting,” throughout the work day; actually taking breaks from work in order to get more done (and do better work!). One of our readers introduced us to the Pomodoro Technique, (names after a tomato-shaped timer) which is based on this very idea and provides a specific method:

  1. Choose a task to be accomplished
  2. Set a timer for 25 minutes
  3. Work on the task until the timer rings
  4. Take a short break (5 minutes is OK)
  5. Every 4 cycles take a longer break
We decided to try it out, and it so far it has been a wonderfully useful technique. We’ve found that the 25-minute work cycles allow us to package together work in a way that makes sense, so we aren’t cramming a big bunch of unrelated tasks together. The result: we’re calmer, and feel more organized. Getting up and getting away from our desks is also extremely refreshing, and allows our heads to cool out throughout the day.
It’s so simple that it’s definitely worth a try. If you get really into it, the Pomodoro website delves deeper into the strategy with a free PDF book and and a terrific Cheat Sheet that gives the gist (If you google Pomodoro Technique you’ll find lots of people who swear by it and have even made interesting ‘mind-maps’ of the process like the one above by Hans Buskes)…
…Or check out similar time management methods.
99% posted an interesting piece about one writer’s experience with Batching, which requires tasks to get done in 30-minute blocks. There is also this post from Elizabeth Grace Saunders, who experiments with 15-20 minute work sessions.

Related posts: the rich rewards of an unplanned day
david allen’s potent questions for a new year
4-step algorithm for change
what’s the perfect desk (for you)?
how to do more in less time: pulse and rest

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One thought on “we test drive the pomodoro time management technique

  1. Really intrigued that you find this works. I am not sure why it would prevent one from doing many things at once during the 25 minutes, but will certainly explore. Am so in need of such a device, for both mental, and, in my case, also physical, breaks.Maybe I will actually listen when it goes off. That would be a real novelty for a writer. Am going to repost on Facebook. (By the way, I assume you know, but, just in case you don’t, that there are similar things that can appear on your screen and can be set to tell you to take a break, or, in desperate cases, where you have to override your own bad instincts, will actually freeze your screen for a set amount of time.)

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