How to hack the brain with Pomodoro?

For many people time is the #1 enemy. Understanding the need to do a lot within a short time frame drives us crazy. The upcoming deadline adds fuel to the fire significantly decreasing productivity. The Pomodoro technique brings the mind to ease and helps concentration while forgetting about distractions and obstacles. Are you interested in becoming more productive? Doing more within less time without losing focus? Here is how Pomodoro can help you.

Why Pomodoro Not Banana?

Like many great inventions, this time management technique was born out of necessity. Being a student, Pomorodo’s founder Francesco Cirillo was using a kitchen timer in shape of a pomodoro to track the time while preparing for the exams. It’s ironic that one of the most efficient time-management techniques got its name after kitchen timer.

Pomodoro: How It Works?

The Pomodoro technique is simple. The working process consists of Pomodoros in 30 min time frames that encompasses 25 mins of dedicated work and five-minutes breaks to refresh. Here is how you can start leveraging it right now:

Set up

Create a “To do” list for a day. It can be something that’s difficult to start, like writing an essay, begin coding or anything else that requires a lot of effort.

Start small

Set the priority of tasks from your list and select one to get started at that moment. Set a timer for 25 mins and start working on it. Even if someone is messaging or calling you, stay focused during these 25 mins. It is just you and the task. Resisting a tempting distraction like a message on Facebook may be a bit difficult at first, but with the practice you’ll acquire the skill of full concentration.

Take a break!

Frequent breaks allow us to stay more productive so after 25 mins of intensive work take a 5 min break. Here you’re free to do anything, but stay strictly adhered to the 5 min limit.

Restart

Start another 25 min set of comprehensive concentration. Remember the more dedicated you are, the quicker you get to the end of your “To do” list. When the task is finished, strike it off the list and proceed to the next one.

Have a rest

After finishing 4 sets of 25 min Pomodoro sets, take a long break about 15–20 mins. You really deserve it!

Let’s be realistic. Like any other activity, the successful use of Pomodoro requires some time and effort. Getting accustomed to it while increasing productivity requires 7 to 21 days. Using Pomodoro for a couple of days enables you to see how many Pomodoros a day you have and plan the future activities accordingly. For a example, an 8 hours working day encompasses 14 Pomodoros.

What Are the Core Principles?

Pomodoro is a flexible time management technique that can be easily adjusted to your goals. Here are its foundations:

  1. Work with time not against it. Time is not an enemy working against us; it’s an ally.
  2. Allocate breaks between work: short breaks help to keep us more productive and focused.
  3. Get rid of distractions: social media, calls, emails and other trifles can wait until you get done with the task.
  4. Say no to procrastination: find the ideal balance between work and rest; don’t feel guilty for wasting time or being inefficient. Efficiency does not mean non-stop work and constant overtimes. 40 Working hours a week is enough when you have a clear objective and are laser-focused on reaching your goals.

How to cope with distractions?

While using Pomodoro or any other time management technique you’ll inevitably be faced with distractions. They are divided into external (colleagues, emails, social media, phone) and inner (thoughts, ideas). Once something disrupts you, put a mark in your “To do list” and write down what you’d like to do (even if some thoughts come to your mind). After that proceed to work on the task. During a break you can check out this list and decide whether these disrupters are worth of your attention.

Remember the core principle of Pomodoro: uninterrupted work on the chosen task. Here is how you can handle the disrupters:

  • work on them during the next Pomodoro;
  • work on them instead of the already settled from “To do list”;
  • put it off until the next Pomodoro set.

All these help concentrate on the chosen task.

What if my Pomodoro doesn’t go smoothly?

Don’t give up. Remember: the more you use Pomodoro, the easier it will flow with time. Even if something went wrong, especially at the early stages of using it, stay dedicated. The next Pomodoro will be better and teach you to focus on particular stretch of time: one step at a time and a small break to proceed further. It helps you focus on a particular moment emphasizing the importance of continuous effort.

When you don’t have enough courage or determination — start a Pomodoro and proceed to accomplish your tasks. One more time: even if something went wrong, next time it will go more smoothly.

How many Pomodoros a day?

The greatest thing about Pomodoro is the ability to work within a settled schedule. In a race for high productivity it’s not necessary to force yourself to work from morning till night. It’s not efficient. You’re not an assembly line that produces more thanks to nonstop work.

People function in a different way. Following the sequence of work and breaks, you can work & learn while keeping your tempo. After a month of using it you can collect up to 10–12 Pomodoros a day without being completely burnt out.

We are all very different. The combination of 25–30 mins of work with 5 min break is relative. Experiment with the length of work and breaks to find Pomodoro duration that works for you. The more you use Pomodoro the more accurately you’ll estimate the scope of work and plan time accordingly. With time the statistics are gathered. The number of daily and weekly Pomodoros is an unbiased reflection of your productivity.

How to get started with Pomodoro?

If any of that sounds interesting here is how you can get started with Pomodoro technique. Create a list of tasks you want to finish today wherever it will be convenient for you. Open TimeTrack app (or install it from here). If you’ve never used the app before check out our small guide how to use it at the end of this article. Go to the Settings and find Pomodoro feature. Activate it and customize settings according to your preferences setting up type of Activity for which you’d like to use Pomodoro. It can be Work, Reading, Exercising or whatever else you can think of. You can find a more detailed guide here.

Using Pomodoro can increase your productivity doing more with less time. But remember it’s just a technique and a miracle won’t happen without your true dedication.