Pomodoro Technique is one of the most popular ways to overcome procrastination and improve productivity. Here’s how to use it to get ahead at work.
Do you find yourself struggling to manage all your tasks at work? Are you often scrambling to meet deadlines and end up swamped with work at the end of the day?
Productivity in the workplace often seems elusive, but a lot of it has to do with discipline. There are a number of productivity techniques that you can use to get ahead at work, but the Pomodoro technique has been known to be incredibly effective.
Using the Pomodoro technique is a great way to get rid of your task backlog, beat procrastination, and get ahead at work.
What Is the Pomodoro Technique?
The Pomodoro technique is simply an effective method for maintaining mental clarity and staying focused. It was developed in the 1980s by Francesco Cirillo who found it difficult to focus on his studies and submit assignments on time.
He decided to start small; committing himself to just 10 minutes of study at a time.
Encouraged by his results, he wrote a comprehensive book about the technique. Let us distill the Pomodoro technique for you in a few points:
- 1. Get a set of tasks and a timer.
- 2. Set your timer for 25-minute intervals. Focus on a single task until the timer starts to ring.
- 3. Mark off a Pomodoro, and record the work you completed in that interval.
- 4. Take a break for five minutes.
- 5. Do this four times, and then take a longer break for up to a half-hour.
5 Ways to Use the Pomodoro Technique to Get Ahead at Work
Now that you know how the Pomodoro technique works, here are 5 ways to use it at work and break down your productivity barriers
1. Create and Prioritize a List of Tasks
The Pomodoro technique is only as effective as the quality of tasks you pick. When you are at work, there’s often so much to do that most people just don’t know where to begin. That’s where prioritization comes in.
According to the 80/20 rule, 80% of your results are contingent on 20% of the tasks. Knowing which tasks are the most pressing and which ones are easy to knock off is very important. When starting with the Pomodoro technique, focus on tasks that are quick and easy.
You’ll get momentum going this way, and that’ll increase your motivation considerably. Ideally, you’d want to start with tasks that you can complete within 25-30 minutes in the beginning. Once you knock those out, you can break down bigger tasks into smaller intervals and focus on those.
2. Start Setting Timers and Cutting Down Distractions
You already know that a timer is a very important element if you are going to utilize the Pomodoro technique for effective work. In the workplace, however, setting timers is not as easy. Your colleagues will probably not like the shrill sound of the timer going off every 25 minutes.
Using a Pomodoro app is a great idea, as the app will automatically tell you when each interval ends. However, to really make this technique work effectively for you, it’s important that you cut down distractions. To do this, you need to focus on your work without taking a break every 10-15 seconds to glance around the room or to stretch your legs.
You can do that after every interval. This also means not flitting randomly through YouTube videos or fidgeting around with a pen on your desk. For the next 25 minutes, your attention should be reserved for only one thing: work.
3. Note Down Important Distractions
In a dynamic work environment, your colleagues will approach you from time to time for important requests or information. When you are using the Pomodoro technique, you can’t answer them right away. However, that doesn’t mean that you should shun their requests completely.
Instead, what you can do is to make a note of all the important distractions. Just write down the person’s name, or the task, and then during your breaks, you can follow up with them about their original query. An effective employee knows how to manage both the work and social aspects of their job, so it’s important you learn how to do this.
It won’t take long before your colleagues realize your new routine, and will begin to approach you during your breaks.
4. Break Down Bigger Tasks the Right Way
It’s obvious that not all of your office tasks can be completed in 25-minute intervals. Some might require you to consult, or work with, another colleague. You’ll have to factor that into each Pomodoro as well. Break down your tasks in a way so that you can collaborate with a colleague in one interval, and do your own work in the next.
That will help reduce the potential for needless communication and ensure that you remain focused on completing your work quickly. Depending upon the nature of the task, you need to figure out how to properly divide it into intervals. A task management app is a suitable option for these purposes.
5. Take a Proper Break After Every Four Cycles
This is very important. You need to take a proper break after every four cycles and let yourself loose. This means get off your chair and take a walkabout. You can have a coffee or something, or meet with a colleague and talk about something else. You can even do lunch if you want.
Don’t talk about work during your break at all. Try to get your mind as far from work as possible so that you can really relax. If you are thinking about work during your break too, what’s the point of taking one?
Overcoming Procrastination Is Difficult, But Not Impossible
The Pomodoro technique is just one of the many techniques that you can use to overcome procrastination. But, it’s not the only one.
If you think the Pomodoro technique doesn’t work for you, there’s also the five-minute rule that you can use to work more effectively.