Pomodoro Technique: a brief history
A university student in the late 1980s had the same old problem that we all face today, the matter of time management. But, instead of feeling overwhelmed and losing focus, he decided to create a revolutionary system of time management now known as The Pomodoro Technique.
Francesco Cirillo, a University student in the late 1980s, struggled to focus on his studies and submit his assignments on time. Feeling exasperated, he promised himself that he would devote 10 minutes of his time, entirely focused on studying, without any breaks or distractions.
Spurred on by the challenge, Francesco used a tomato-shaped kitchen timer to keep track, and the Pomodoro Technique was born. In Italian, Pomodoro translates to tomato, and since he first used a tomato-shaped timer to keep a check, he decided to name the technique after it.
He wrote a 130-page book about the method, showcasing the brilliance of the technique encased within its simplicity.
Here are the 6 steps from The Pomodoro Technique book
- Decide on the task to be done.
- Set the Pomodoro timer (traditionally to 25 minutes).
- Work on the task.
- End work when the timer rings and put a checkmark on a piece of paper.
- Take a short break (3–5 minutes) and then return to step 2.
- After four pomodoros, take a more extended break (15–30 minutes), reset your checkmark count to zero, and then go to step 1.
How effective are the Pomodoro technique and its advantages?
The Pomodoro Technique is highly effective as it breaks down a task into seemingly small, manageable chunks. It provides a period of hyperfocus for 25 minutes, with no distractions, wholly engrossed in the task at hand.
Additionally, hyper-focus enables us to tackle the overwhelming sensation of undertaking an enormous task by breaking it down into components.
Additionally, it helps us combat distractions. When we’re in a state of flow, a moment of distraction can throw us off track. But with the Pomodoro Technique, it is advised to put away all forms of distractions for the 25-minute period of hyperfocus, enabling us to stay in a state of flow for the required time and task at hand. Each Pomodoro is only dedicated to one task at hand, with a break at the end, enabling us to reset and refocus.
The technique also allows us to track and effectively manage our time. We become more aware of how every minute is utilised for the task. When we start working in short, timed sessions, time becomes more concrete than abstract, allowing us to manage it efficiently.
Cirillo calls this “inverting time” because it changes the perception of time passing from an abstract source of anxiety to an exact measure of productivity, leading to much more realistic time estimates.
The Pomodoro Technique also promotes consistency over perfection, making it all the more simple, and most importantly, approachable.
The technique highlights the need for consistency by maintaining a period of concentration and focus, divided into easily digestible segments that allow us to work with ease and in a state of flow and will enable us to take breaks to rejuvenate and readjust to the task at hand
Cirillo says that “concentration and consciousness lead to speed, one Pomodoro at a time.”
Once you get into the groove, you can decide the time of each Pomodoro and change it according to your preference. The advisable limit is nothing short of 25 minutes, as that’s too little to get any concrete work done, but there is no limit on the increase.
Tasks such as writing, coding, etc., require a more protracted flow state for which 25 minutes might prove short; we can increase the time limit as needed. A study found that a 52-minute focus and a 17-minute break for tasks requiring more effort are a perfect balance.
Additionally, Cirillo suggests, “Each case should be handled with the right approach: If you finish a task while the Pomodoro is still ticking, the following rule applies: If a Pomodoro begins, it has to ring. It’s a good idea to take advantage of the opportunity for overlearning, using the remaining portion of the Pomodoro to review or repeat what you’ve done, make small improvements, and note what you’ve learned until the Pomodoro rings.”
Remember, consistency is critical. Identify your focus, but also take the time to reflect. So don’t put off your goals any longer! Incorporate the Pomodoro Technique into your routine and watch your progress soar.