What is the Pomodoro Technique?
The Pomodoro Technique was developed in the 1980s, by Francesco Cirillo, whose website now offers courses and certifications in this method. (You can find more info here)
In brief, the Pomodoro Technique is the idea of working in shorter intervals, typically 25-minute bursts, followed by a short break. The user then takes a longer break after four Pomodoro intervals.
It’s important to note that this method is not solely used to complete one task in 25 minutes. You may complete several or only part of a method. The point is to work for the allotted time and then take a break, regardless of how much or little progress you have made.
Is it that simple?
In short, no. The above description is just the core of the Pomodoro Technique. Cirillo’s website goes into more detail, outlining the key essential objectives needed to perfect the method.
In brief, these objectives are as follows. (Find the complete list in the video here)
- Determine the difficulty of your task by measuring how many ‘Pomodoros’ (25-minute intervals) it takes to complete
- Learn to work without internal and external interruptions
- Make accurate estimations for how many Pomodoros a new activity will make
- Allocate recap and review time into each Pomodoro interval
- Set a time table of Pomodoros to plan your day
- Find a personal objective that Pomodoros can help with
It must be noted that these objectives seem to relate more to how to use the method, rather than how to do the method.
Does it Work? My Experience
There is plenty of anecdotal evidence pointing to the benefits of using the Pomodoro Technique, but there are also plenty that say it does not work.
In my own experience, I find that, after 25 minutes, I am only just getting focused on the task at hand. I prefer 50-minute to hour long intervals, followed by a short break.
Whether intervals of this length (double the recommendation) still counts as a Pomodoro is not for me to say. I definitely find benefit in working with frequent breaks, but this is also a staple of many productivity techniques, which we will no doubt explore in the future.
For others however, this could be a useful way of approaching a task you have been dreading. Knowing that you only have to commit 25 minutes to it may help one get it started. Perhaps, for me at least, this is what the Pomodoro Technique is best used for.
As with a lot of these techniques, the only way to find out whether it works or not is to try it. Luckily you stand little to use by giving this technique a go. Simply find a low-priority task in your day, preferably one you assume will take longer than 25 minutes to complete. Then, set your timer and take short breaks after each 25-minute interval. While you may work slower at first, note if you feel more productive and enthusiastic about your work than you would otherwise. Be sure to let us know how you get on!