The Pomodoro Technique is a popular time-boxing productivity method to help you improve your focus and concentration, requiring nothing more than a kitchen timer. The idea is simple: alternate 25 minutes of work with 5 minutes of rest, and repeat.
Today I’ll show you the principles of this technique, and how to use it daily, using Pomodroido, an app designed to help you do the technique whenever you go, so you don’t need to carry a timer with you everywhere.
What You Need
Before I start the explanation on how to use the technique, you’ll need some things to help you:
- To Plan: To Do List
- You can download the list above from the Pomodoro Technique’s website, write your own, or use one of the many to-do list apps on the Android Market.
- To Record: Another To Do List
- This one is slightly different from the other, as I prefer using a spreadsheet for recording – it’s way more flexible, and I couldn’t find any app that does exactly what I need.
- To Time: Pomodroido.
- This is the app that we’ll be using to measure the time we take for our work/rest cycles.
Principles of the Technique
Well, before using Pomodroido, you need to understand the technique. It consists of setting the timer to 25 minutes and working solidly until the time’s up, without interruptions, without getting out of your chair. After this time, you take a 5 minutes rest, to do anything but work.
But to get the most out of it, even before you start the timer, you need to work on the Plan.
Determine What You Need to Do
For example, in my case, I’m writing this article using the technique, so I’ve marked two steps, as in the picture below:
The first column of the To Do is a marker; when you finish this step, mark an “x” on it.
In the second column, write down the type of activity you’re going to do, and the activity itself.
Finally, after finishing each Pomodoro period for an activity, mark an “x” on the third column. As of the screenshot above, I’ve completed just one Pomodoro, so there is just one “x”.
Every four pomodoros, take a longer break – anything between 15 and 30 minutes.
Your First Pomodoro
Now that your activities are planned, sit on your chair, close your office door (or tell everyone that you’ll be working and don’t want to be interrupted), and get everything you’ll need on your desk. Basically, prepare yourself for intense focus, and deal with anything that might distract you, in advance.
Open Pomodroido, press Menu, and go to Preferences. Everything should be okay by default, but you can set things like Keep Screen On (extremely recommended, you need to see how much time remains of this Pomodoro, to discipline yourself), Ticking Timer (again, turn it on, the ticks may be annoying at first, but it helps you to know you’re working with a deadline) and the duration of intervals and Pomodoros (I recommend you tweak just the long break interval; I set it to 20 minutes).
Everything is set, so tap Start and get to work. If anyone interrupts you, the Pomodoro is invalidated, and you’ll need to restart all over again. This means that if you’re writing, you’ll need to drop all the content you’ve written on this Pomodoro, and write it again.
(Editor’s Note: Yikes, that seems a bit extreme!)
Another thing to remember is, when the Pomodoro is finished, stop immediately. Don’t cheat it.
In the break, you need to get yourself out of the activity, so go drink a glass of water, walk around, talk to someone, and don’t do anything related to work. Don’t even think about work; it helps you not become stressed about it.
Now that you’ve made your fist Pomodoro, head on to the next ones. If you finish an activity before the Pomodoro’s deadline, use the remaining time to take another look over your work and check that everything is okay. If you don’t think you need to take another look, just stop the timer.
In Pomodroido, if you wish to keep track of the Pomodoros then you must wait till each finished, and when the interval pop-up comes, say that you’ve finished your job. Halting a Pomodoro in the middle will invalidate it.
After you have finished with every activity on your list, go ahead and record this in your other list. I recommend you to make a spreadsheet for this one at least, because you’ll want to record every Pomodoro you do, and this will keep things in order.
The things you’ll need to record:
- Date: The date of the recording.
- Time: The time started.
- Type: The type of activity.
- Activity: Self-explanatory.
- Pomodoros: How many Pomodoros you did for this activity.
- Notes: Any notes you want to (optional).
Further Reading and Final Thoughts
That’s it! If you want to dive further into the technique, visit the website and download the book. It has other considerations and tips for using it with a team.
I hope this helps you to focus on your work as much as it has worked for me. I can be very lazy, but using the Pomodoro Technique I can put myself under enough pressure to get my work done, without overwhelming my mind with stress and worries.