How To: Use the Pomodoro Timer for Increased Focus and Productivity

With the advent of the internet, email, texting and other time-saving technology, we, as humans, have become obsessed with multi-tasking. Indeed, we put a great deal of emphasis on the ability to handle multiple tasks at one time. Even companies looking to hire often note that an ability to multi-task is key for the successful applicant.

Over time, however, we have come to realize the many downfalls of this practice. From frequent errors to difficulties in completing just one task in our rotation, we now know that there are times when multi-tasking is not the answer.

The Basics of the Pomodoro Method

Enter Pomodoro. The Pomodoro Technique was created in the 1980s by Francesco Cirillo, an Italian software developer who found that using his tomato-shaped kitchen timer really helped his productivity (pomodoro means “tomato” in Italian). The technique consists of 25-minute work bursts, followed by a 5-minute break. After 4 consecutive 25-minute work and 5-minute break sessions, the break is then 15-30 minutes long, and the cycle begins again.

Read on to discover the benefits of Pomodoro and find out if this is this right way to get YOU focused and on track!

Working in a Pomodoro Cycle

  1. Choose four tasks to work on. Each should fit into about 25 minutes – which is the length of a single Pomodoro session. Plan the four sessions to create your Pomodoro cycle.
  2. Write down the tasks to hold yourself accountable.
  3. Set your timer for 25 minutes and work only on the task you’ve written down until the buzzer rings. If you feel yourself getting stuck, power through until your first break. Do not allow yourself the quick and easy distraction: quickly checking email or Facebook, sending a text, or running for coffee.
  4. After your Pomodoro is up, take five minutes to move your body and relax your mind. Check off the Pomodoro on your list.
  5. After you’ve completed four Pomodoros, take a well-deserved 15 to 30-minute break.

Breaking up your day into small pieces can help jump-start projects that you don’t know how to begin. It’s a lot easier to say “I’ll just do this one part” rather than staring an entire project in the face. It also makes it easier to organize your day versus jumping around to all sorts of projects and never finishing any single one.

Additional Benefits of the Pomodoro Method

  • Pomodoro helps you learn to manage distractions and build your willpower.
  • It’s good for your health! The required breaks on Pomodoro get you up and moving at regular intervals.
  • At the end of the day, it quantifies your output. You may not be able to say you finished the entire project, but you can easily see what parts are done and have the satisfaction of checking them off.
  • It works both in and out of the office. This same technique can be used successfully to get things done around the house.

Improve Focus and Productivity

Ready to give Pomodoro a try? This free online timer is a great way to automatically track while you work, it will even “ding” for you to signal when to take your break or move on to the next round of work. Better yet, if you find you need to adjust the time constraints to better fit your ideal efficiency, you can easily make your own timer and run through that cycle instead.

Looking for other ways to improve focus? Lemon Essential oils have been found to stimulate the mind and help people focus. Learn more about the essential oils in our Lemon Verbena soaps and cleaners.