The Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique was invented in the early 90s by Francesco Cirillo based on the idea of getting things done in pre-determined blocks of time.
It is probably one of the simplest productivity methods to implement. You break your workday into 25-minute segments that are separated by five-minute breaks. Each 25-minute work period is called a “pomodoro”, named after the Italian word for tomato. Francesco Cirillo used a kitchen timer shaped like a tomato as his personal timer, and thus the method’s name.
After four “pomodoros” have passed (100 minutes of work time with 15 minutes of break time), you then take a longer break of 15 to 30 minutes, whatever it takes to make you feel recharged. Your brain will use this time to assimilate new information and rest before the next round of Pomodoros.
The result is greatly improved productivity during focused work sessions, that can be maintained through effectively managing distractions and getting things done in short sprints. In theory, this strategy works because you completely focus on one task without multitasking.
The frequent breaks boost your motivation and help rejuvenate you. The constant timing of your activities makes you more accountable for your tasks, and minimizes the time you spend procrastinating. Watching the timer wind down can mobilise you to wrap up your current task more quickly, and spreading a single task over two or three pomodoros prevents you from getting frustrated.
It aims to provide you with maximum focus by allowing you to complete projects faster with less mental fatigue. Mastery of the technique takes from seven to twenty days of constant use and with time, it can even help improve your attention span and concentration.
It's important to remember that Pomodoro is a productivity system—not something to bind you down. If you're making progress and the timer goes off, it's okay to finish what you're doing, and then take a break.
The process isn’t ideal for every person, or in any line of work. But if you need a systematic way to handle your daily to-do list, the Pomodoro Technique may fit your needs.