Hard to get stuff done even though you are working constantly? A colleague comes over to chat, you reply to an email, you surf on a link in the email and, whop, there was 15 minutes gone. Multi-tasking won’t make you particularly effective either; it takes a lot of time and energy switching between different tasks. The pomodoro method is one way of becoming more effective and organize your time – and as a bonus hopefully get more spare time!
All you need is a timer. Your phone or a cooking timer will work well. This is what you do:
- Write down all the stuff you need to do in the next couple of weeks on a paper.
- Choose the tasks you will do today on a new paper. Try to estimate how many pomodoro each task will take – a pomodoro is 25 minutes.
- Put the timer on 25 minutes. Start working with the first task. Nothing else. No mobile. No Facebook. No email.
- When the alarm goes off, draw a line next to the first task to mark a pomodoro.
- Take a break for a few minutes. Move around.
- After the break, set the timer again and start the next pomodoro. Continue with the task until it’s done – even if it takes several pomodoros – and you have achieved the goal you set for the task. For example: “Finish writing the report”.
- Make sure you use a little bit of the time to recap what you’ve done and to review the result.
- After 4 pomodoro you take a longer break. Perhaps eat a snack and move around.
If distractions appear you note them on a paper and deal with them after your pomodoro. You may remember you need to call someone or you get a good idea. Park them on a piece of paper.
This article took 3 pomodoro to write. In the first pomodoro I did the research – and chewed on my pen for a while. In the second I wrote the article. In the third I spellchecked, fine tuned and published it.
The Pomodoro technique is nothing new. It’s been around since the late 80s and was developed by and Italian – Francesco Cirillo. The reason it’s called pomodoro is that the Italian cooking timers look like tomatoes.
Pomodoro is an agile method used by many progmers. The short break means you stop to think regularly. Using this method you also get a good overview of what you need to achieve. It feels like you’re getting stuff done and that you are working on the most important tasks first. Do try and let me know how it goes.
The pomodoro method will also increase your health. Sitting still can kill you!