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The Pomodoro Technique: Improving Productivity

In today’s world of busy schedules, it is important to improve productivity using the Pomodoro technique, people barely make it through the day without complaining about how much they have to do. It’s always the same- “I have so much to do, but I don’t have enough time for it all”, but what people cannot realize is that it all depends on the way they program themselves. Twenty-four hours a day is enough time to complete the most daunting to-do lists if only they are managed efficiently.

Procrastination, knowingly or unknowingly has become the go-to for numerous people around the world. In times where people barely have time to look after their selves, time management is the Holy Grail. The internet will end up showing a thousand different ways to manage time, from setting alarms to making to-do lists and whatnot. But everybody knows the reality of these lists, alarms, and mental checklists; nothing is ever done, and certainly not on time.

Although there isn’t a fixed technique that would work for everyone to manage time efficiently, the Pomodoro Technique could be worth the try to improve productivity. This technique was developed by a university student, Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. Like every student, he was having a hard time focusing on his studies and assignments and so, feeling overburdened by the academic pressure he decided to commit just 10 minutes of his time to complete a task. Since the timer he had with him at that was shaped like a tomato (Pomodoro is Italian for tomato), the technique to improve productivity came to be known as the Pomodoro technique.

pomodoro technique

Cirillo went on to write a vast book on productivity and potency titled The Pomodoro Technique. Over two million people have already used this technique to

improve productivity

, thereby transforming their lives, making them more productive, focused, and eventually smarter. Cirillo adopted a deceptively simple time-management approach to solving the issue of procrastination and inefficiency in doing tasks.

This practice is fairly straightforward and requires, at most two things: a to-do list and a timer. The idea here is to dedicate time slots to certain tasks. For example, if the task is “Complete research paper”, the aim should not be to do it in one stretch.

Set a timer for, let’s say 25 minutes (you can switch the time limit to 10 or 15 minutes too, depending on your level of focus) and start with your essay. When the timer rings, it’s time for a five-minute break. This marks your first Pomodoro, i.e. your first sub-task is complete. The key here is being consistent and, obviously not extending the break time to hours. After four Pomodoros (that would be 100 minutes of work complete) take a longer break, around 15-30 minutes. Allow yourself to relax in this free time and let the slow realization sink in that you’ve completed 100 minutes of a task.

free tips to improve productivity
Credits: M

This might seem complex but once you begin, you will never have time management issues. The three golden rules for getting the most out of each Pomodoro interval are:

1. Breaking down complex tasks

Sometimes, a task may require more than four Pomodoro’s. For this, you can break down your task into smaller, less complex steps to improve productivity. For example, your task “Complete research paper” might include two broad sub-divisions- reading relevant material and drafting. Each of these sub-divisions can be an individual task in your to-do list, ensuring that you make clear progress in your projects.

2. Stick small tasks together to improve productivity; Save time

You might have smaller, less time-consuming tasks throughout the day. These tasks should be combined into one Pomodoro, making the break at the end, a relaxing one. For example, you may have to “clean the dishes”, “set a dentist’s appointment” and “talk to a client”, all these could be put together in one Pomodoro.

3. Once a Pomodoro is set, it must ring to improve productivity

The time you choose cannot vary or be broken (this would mean ‘wasting your time). If at all you get any ideas, tasks, calls, emails or texts make a note of them and come back to them after the Pomodoro is complete.

Credits: WorkflowMax

There is obviously, more to Pomodoro technique such as follows:

• If you finish a task before the timer goes off, utilize the remaining time by ‘overlearning’ which is going through your work or you could take that extra time to improve skills or scope of knowledge by reading up articles, journals, and research papers, or other things of your interest.

• Be realistic in setting your Pomodoros. You cannot have 28 Pomodoros in a day and then complain about how nothing is done. A maximum should be less than 12, although some people go up to 16 Pomodoros. Again, this is solely based on personal experience and what suits one better, hence it is subjective.

• Plan out your day beforehand by taking some time out in the morning (or the night before) and create a list of tasks that need to be done. Don’t cram up all tasks for a single day; spread it out according to the deadline to improve productivity.

• Most importantly, stick to the plan and put in the effort to get the work done. All these techniques and practices will not be constructive if you don’t end up doing anything.

The Pomodoro Technique has been proven to increase focus and improve productivity and has been known as the ‘procrastination-busting strategy’. The only way this, or for that matter any practice will work is if one remains consistent with it. Putting in effort and planning out wisely will certainly lead to getting tasks done better and faster, by making the best use of your time.

Reda Aamna is a student pursuing English Literature from Jamia Millia Islamia.

Edited by: Malaika M. Khan

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of The Jamia Review or its members.

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Written by Reda Aamna

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