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The Pomodoro Technique 101 - why it works and when to use it

The Pomodoro Technique 101:  Why it works and when to use it ( Ep 91)

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Today, we’re delving into the world of productivity with an Italian twist – introducing the Pomodoro Technique 101! I’m going to show you why it works, when to use it, and even how to fail at the Pomodoro Technique (so you won’t!). The name comes from an Italian university student named Francesco Cirillo, frustrated and distracted, unleashes the power of a tomato-shaped kitchen timer, and the Pomodoro Technique is born.

Fast forward to today, and here’s the lowdown on this incredible productivity hack.

The Pomodoro Rundown

So, what’s this Pomodoro Technique all about? It’s a simple yet genius concept. Set a timer for 25 minutes, also known as one Pomodoro. Work diligently during that time, and when the timer rings, take a five-minute break. Rinse and repeat for about four sessions, and then reward yourself with a glorious 30-minute break. Simple, right?

Why Pomodoro Rocks

Francesco discovered that breaking work into these bite-sized 25-minute chunks, coupled with those refreshing five-minute breaks, significantly boosted focus and productivity. Here’s the magic behind why it works:

  1. Restlessness Be Gone: Ever felt overwhelmed or restless, staring at a looming task? Pomodoro is here to rescue you. It’s like telling your brain, “Hey, it’s just 25 minutes; you got this!”
  2. Distraction Deterrent: Whether it’s diving into a lengthy study session or tackling a complex task for your business, Pomodoro keeps distractions at bay. It’s your secret weapon against the allure of procrastination.

How to Fail at The Pomodoro Technique

Now, let’s talk about how to fail at the Pomodoro Technique – because, yes, even the tomato timer has its pitfalls.

1. Skip the Breaks: The breaks are not optional. They’re part of the magic. Skipping them is like telling your brain, “Hey, I lied about that break. Keep going.” It kills the effectiveness of the technique.

2. Overcommit Time: Giving yourself huge chunks of time defeats the purpose. The beauty of Pomodoro lies in its brevity. It’s a psychological game that tricks your brain into thinking, “It’s only 25 minutes; I can do anything for 25 minutes.”

The Pomodoro Technique Beyond Work

But hold on, Pomodoro isn’t just for work; it’s a fantastic tool for home life too. Need your kids to focus? Set that timer! However, just like with any technique, you’ve got to honor the timer and the breaks.

Pomodoro Power Unleashed

The Pomodoro Technique isn’t just a timer; it’s a mindset shift. It transforms the way you approach tasks, making them more manageable and less daunting. Remember, it’s not just about the work; it’s about the breaks too. They’re your chance to reset, recharge, and come back ready to conquer the next Pomodoro.

There you have it, friends – the Pomodoro Technique 101. Give it a try, embrace the power of the tomato timer, and let the magic unfold in your work and life. Stay tuned for more productivity gems on the Balancing Busy podcast. Until next time, keep pomodoro-ing, keep balancing, and keep rocking that busy life!

Links You Need: 

Ep 89: Time Blocking 101 – how to win and fail at time blocking (Part 1 of 5)

Ep 90: Task Batching 101: My #1 productivity tip to front stack progress (Part 2 of 5)

You’re in part 3!

Connect with me over on Instagram, and let me know what you’re taking away from this episode!

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[00:00:00] Leah: The Pomodoro Technique. You have this Italian university student whose name is Francesco Cirillo, and he is feeling really frustrated because he is not staying focused and it’s affecting his grades, it’s affecting his everything. He just keeps getting distracted. He sits down to study and then he’s like I wonder what’s happening over there.

[00:00:24] Leah: So, trying to solve this, one day he sets a kitchen timer in the shape of a tomato, or in Italian, pomodoro.

[00:00:32] Leah: And the pomodoro technique is born. Now it gets refined over time, and ultimately here’s what the pomodoro technique is today. You take a timer and you set it. You set it for increments of 25 minutes. Of course, you can absolutely use your phone as well. The key here is 25 minutes of work, a five minute rest. You can do this for about four sessions and then you take a good 30 minute break.

[00:01:03] Leah: What he found was that by breaking his work time into these 25 minute increments and then stopping for five minutes, actually getting up, stretching, reach that stand goal for the day, he was able to stay focused and become way more productive. Here’s why it works. It curbs that restlessness, that overwhelm, that want and need to be distracted because the task at hand is hard and it’s going to take a long time.

[00:01:34] Leah: You know, I imagine sitting down to study and when you sit down to study, you’re studying for hours and you, can want an escape before you’ve even started. And so you can see how that would happen. Or maybe you’re trying to learn a new system or some new strategy that you know could help your business, but you’ve got to learn all the tech stuff.

[00:01:54] Leah: And, oh, it’s so overwhelming. These would be great times to test the Pomodoro technique. Set a timer for 25 minutes and just jump in. Now, if you want to know how to fail at the Pomodoro technique, skip the breaks. That’s how you fail. Giving yourself too big of chunks of time to work, it’s going to make the Pomodoro Technique basically ineffective because I think what is actually so powerful about the Pomodoro Technique is that you know there’s this end in sight.

[00:02:28] Leah: You know, okay, only 25 minutes. I can do anything for 25 minutes. But when you make it too long or when you continue to skip over breaks, you’re telling your brain, I’m a liar. I told you it was only 25 minutes, but the timer went off and I’m gonna make you keep going. And then you’re gonna lose all effectiveness.

[00:02:46] Leah: I also think that that Pomodoro technique is really powerful in our homes. With our kids, I love setting a timer and saying, okay, we’re all working on this for X amount of time, set that timer and everybody goes. But of course, if you want that to fail too, don’t honor the timer. We have to honor the timer and we have to honor our rest.

[00:03:09] Leah: We need the breaks. It gives us just enough to reset, to reframe and be able to come back in. Invigorated and ready to keep going. So there you go. That is the Pomodoro Technique. Let’s keep going.




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