I used to be quite the procrastinator. I convinced myself that I could work with music or the TV on, when in actual fact, I just focused on the TV instead of doing the real work. This meant that not only did I not get any work done, but that I was convincing myself I’d worked really hard all day with nothing to show for it.
However, a few years ago I discovered the Pomodoro technique. Pomodoro means tomato in Italian, but don’t worry, you won’t actually have to use any tomatoes to stop you from procrastinating.
The Pomodoro technique is simple and effective.
- First grab a timer, use your phone or a physical timer, whatever works best for you. The Pomodoro technique is so-called because it’s named after a tomato shaped timer so if you really want to, buy one of those. There’s one here. Set the timer for 25 minutes.
- Next, work on your designated task until the timer rings. If you get distracted by something, keep a notepad next to you and note it down. You can check it out in your break time or later on.
- When the timer rings, set it again for 5 minutes. This is your break. Grab a coffee, stretch your legs or just sit quietly.
- Set the timer again for 25 minutes. Repeat this another 2 times, so that you’ll have done just over an hour and a half’s work.
- Now you take a break of up to 30 minutes. Then it starts again!
Of course, the Pomodoro technique isn’t fool proof. Sometimes in your 5 minutes breaks you can looking at ASOS and before you know it an hour has passed, but it has definitely helped me to focus better. And definitely gives you a sense of accomplishment when you’ve worked solidly for an hour and half.
I find it especially useful to keep a notebook by my side so that if I do think of something distracting I can either follow it up later or more often than not, I’ll look at the list and realise it wasn’t something I actually wanted to follow up anyway.
Have you ever used the Pomodoro technique? Do you find it useful? Let me know in the comments!