Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Taking Back Time with the Pomodoro Technique

Photo by barbourians on Flickr. Used via Creative Commons license.
Hi everyone! You know how I've been in a slump lately? Well, part of that was not knowing how to manage my time. When I realized this, I started looking into how I could learn better time management skills.

I wanted to tell you all about a time management technique I just tried today (Monday at the time of writing this). It's called the Pomodoro Technique.

The basic goals of this technique are setting a timer for 25 minutes and doing a task for that entire amount of time. After the 25 minutes are up, you can take a 5 minute break. There's also a system for keeping track of how many "pomodoros" you've done, as well as how often you're distracted (or tempted to give in to distractions). That's the general gist of it, but you're curious to learn more, there's a free e-book available to read on the site.

I decided to give it a try; after all, I didn't have much to lose and lot to gain utilizing the technique. At best, I'd tame my tendency to get distracted by every shiny thing that came my way. At worst, I'd still be distracted by... ooh, shiny!

Starting and Finishing

I used the timer option on my trusty phone as my pomodoro timer, and I typed up my to do list in a spreadsheet--nothing fancy, mind you, just what was needed. Then, at around 9am, I picked a task to focus on for 25 minutes and hit the timer's "start" button.

I ended up noting down several... okay, four or five times I got distracted during those 25 minutes. But I managed to pull through, and I gladly took that 5 minute break. Then it was back into the fray.

25 minutes later, I took another break. Rinse and repeat until 4 pomodoros were finished. I felt like patting myself on the back and tooting my own horn as I took a glorious 15 minute break!

Pretty much the rest of the day passed like this; I stopped for lunch, of course... even my desire for motivation can't get in the way of me and food. Plus, a break was in order anyway.

Before I knew it (no, that's not actually an exaggeration), it was 4pm. I'd made it through my allotted working hours like nobody's business! I had gotten things I needed to do done, and I didn't feel like crap or like I was slowly withering away from boredom. I was focused for much of the time, and I took my deserved breaks only after every 25 minutes was up.

I feel great, guys. I feel really good about myself, and I'm soooo glad I found the Pomodoro Technique. For the first day, it worked out pretty nicely! If any of you has trouble with managing time and staying focused, I'd definitely recommend giving it a shot.

Now I can go and relax without a huge stormcloud of guilt hovering over my head. Whooo!

What have you gotten done lately that you're proud of doing, or are at least glad to have gotten out of the way? Share in the comments.

2 replies:

Anonymous said...

glad to hear it!
i've got to try that.
did you know pomodoro is Italian for tomato?

Leah Waig said...

Hi! Yes, I would definitely suggest giving it a go. And yeah, I did know that, thanks to the Pomodoro site. :) Let me know how it goes for you?

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