photo credit: http://pomodorotechnique.com/timer/

Have you ever felt like you weren’t able to do all the things you wanted to do in a day? You know that you have so much time yet you feel like you have wasted your precious time doing things not on your priority. Probably, you have allotted most of your time in posting different Tweets and Instagram pictures, liking Facebook posts, surfing the web, and more. Later on, you realize that you missed doing an important activity and would put it aside for tomorrow because you don’t have time left to do it now. It’s not that it’s wrong to engage in social media or do other activities. It’s part of our necessities in life, and we all engage in these activities once in a while. However, too much time spent on them is not always good.

Now is the time to think about your daily schedules, merging your work life and personal life. In order to do have a productive day, we have to properly manage our time.

A great way to manage our time, decrease or eliminate procrastination, and boost productivity is the Pomodoro Technique.

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Pomodoro Technique is a systematic technique in tackling to-do list developed in the 1980s by Francesco Cirillo. Cirillo noticed that he is lacking productivity because he was wasting the time he have. To prove himself that he can have a productive and uninterrupted study, he used a kitchen timer shaped like a tomato, set the clock, and focused intimately on his work. It was a struggle at first. Soon, he was able to grasp an understanding on time and productivity. He realized that he became effective in studying and completed other tasks by engaging in short periods of concentrated work separated by short breaks. From the Italian word “pomodoro” meaning tomato, Pomodoro Technique was named in honor of the tomato-shaped kitchen timer that he used to regulate time.

This free, easy-to-use and fun technique allows the person to work with time and not against it. It focuses on the process of completing the activity and not the product by breaking down into pieces the activities needed in order to get things done. It eliminates burnout by having scheduled breaks to refuel your system and give your brain some neurological excitement or reward. It helps you manage external and some internal distractions by focusing and concentrating on an activity. It helps you learn how to handle interruptions. It helps you beat procrastination by being productive that day when you see your tasks being completed one at a time.  

In order to do this, you first list down all the tasks you need and wanted to do. You then select and prioritize the tasks among the lists. You set the timer to 25 minutes and work on it until it rings. Allow yourself to immerse in the work with all your attention and, as much as possible, avoid interruptions. When it rings, tick the check box and give yourself a 3-5 minute break like grabbing a cup of coffee, stretching, biting a piece of chocolate, or anything that is relaxing (not work-related). Repeat the cycle. After every 3-4 Pomodoros, give yourself longer breaks. 20 minutes to 30 minutes are good. This will help your brain to assimilate further new information or allow your brain to rest before another sets of Pomodoros.

As you continue to practice the Pomodoro Technique, you will soon be able to find out how much time and effort is needed in an activity. You will learn how to estimate the effort and time you need for future Pomodoro activities. You will be able to set-up a timetable to help you stay motivated in completing the task, and delineate work time and free time. It will also allow you to enjoy your free time instead of thinking that you should be doing more work.

Some more final secrets in making the Pomodoro Technique more effective. First, you have to obey the timer. If you don’t obey the timer like working more than the required time or not taking breaks, your brain will fall into thinking you have accomplished something earlier and you needed longer breaks until you will find yourself doing unnecessary tasks. Second, taking breaks is the idea in here. You want to give your brain a breath of air from intimate focus at work. It will allow the connections to assimilate and wire up together. Breaks also allow you to subconsciously think about a certain problem to bring out new ideas. Third, learn to fight off the temptation to engage in interruptions. Finally, learn how to prioritize. If you don’t prioritize what you will do, you will learn that you’re accomplishing unnecessary tasks.

Once you get the hang of it, instead of racing against the clock, you befriend time. Have you started a Pomodoro today?

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