Want To Do Much More In Less Time? Try The Pomodoro Technique!

Artist Jenny Holzer knows you can't afford to lose your good ideas to a "lack of time"... so make more time!

The Pomodoro Technique does not take a great deal of skill to master and yet the payoff in terms of your personal efficiency can be huge if you vibe with the method!  None of us can afford to let our precious moments of clarity fall victim to the “I Don’t Have Time” curse, so… read on! 

Working faster and better might not be the first thing that pops into your mind while looking at gorgeous tomatoes... but it might soon be!

In our world of too many ways to communicate, too many interruptions and way too many things on our plate, one of the greatest complaints is a lack of time.  This scarcity of time bleeds into your ability to have romance,  a strong family, friendships, and even good health.  In my quest for a way to get more done in less time, I stumbled upon the The Pomodoro Technique®.

The basic steps for using Pomodoro to master your time:

  1. Make a To-Do list.
  2. Pick something off of the list and set a timer for 25 minutes.  This 25 minute block of time is called a “pomodoro”.
  3. Work diligently until the buzzer rings.  Now, take a five minute break.
  4. After 4 pomodoros, take a 30 minute break.
  5. Keep going…
Of course, this is the simplistic outline of how this works.  I have found that once you can work for a few days with this “buzzer” going off,  it becomes easier to get excited and read the free e-book they provide on the Pomodoro Technique website, along with groovy to-do lists emblazoned with tomatoes.  Most valuable in all my reading and studying of this technique has been the idea of dealing with distractions.  The whole world does not have a clinical ADD diagnosis, although sometimes it feels like that is the case!  Distractions, interruptions and lack of smooth organization are all addressed in their free manual.

iPhone apps, tomato timers... or just a kitchen timer or your cell phone will work! whatever gets you excited, grab it and start your 25 minute blocks of work!

I would love to say that I am ready to be certified as a Pomodoro Master (yep, you can get certified!) but I am still in the early stages of making this technique a new habit of mine.  Helpful hints?  You can get yourself a kitchen timer online (I am a fan of the way the Tomato Timers look but they have very poor customer reviews) to avoid looking at the timer on your phone and getting distracted…or, if you want to go the iPhone route, the Pomodoro Time Management Lite app is free and easy to use to get started!
Here are a few other little feng shui tricks to make this work better:
  1. Don’t work with a desk directly facing your kitchen (unless you want to eat – and not work- all day)
  2. Make sure you have great lighting in your workspace .  Too bright of light can be as straining and exhausting as light that is too dim.  Natural light is always a lovely thing whenever possible!
  3. Create a little “service station” by your workspace where you can keep a pitcher of water or a pot of tea and a healthy snack or  two so that you aren’t wasting your head-clearing time scrambling for something simple like a drink during your shorter breaks.
  4. Rosemary, ginger, peppermint (in the morning, only!), cary sage… these are all fantastic essential oils for working more diligently.
I am not sure if this will 100% become my way of working, but there is a ton of very useful, very researched and highly valid data in the tomato-based productivity plan known as The Pomodoro Technique®.  If you try it, please let me know how it’s working for you! Sometimes a few success stories motivate us all to take the next step! xoxo Dana

kime January 29, 2012 at 2:17 am

There is new GAME based on pomodoro technique called Pomodorium 🙂 makes it fun

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danaclaudat January 29, 2012 at 3:11 am

That’s sooo cool, really? I have to see it. The iPhone app already makes it fun for me !

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Andre February 13, 2012 at 11:54 pm

Thanks I am definitely going to try this. I use http://e.ggtimer.com/ to steep my tea; now I’ll try to use it for this!

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danaclaudat February 14, 2012 at 12:01 am

OMG andre this is awesome!!! I love it! THe iPhone Pomodoro free app is brilliant, but I love the idea of having a time on the computer!!! THANK YOU! Dana

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Diana February 14, 2012 at 8:53 pm

Great article! I’m using http://orkanizer.com now but I want also find some desktop application, so THANKS!

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