’If only I had more time’
If you find yourself frequently feeling as though there are not enough hours in the day, then perhaps it is time to examine your productivity. After all, we all get exactly the same number of hours a day, and yet it sometimes feels for us like time slips away with little results - whilst we watch others creating great things with exactly the same resources at hand.
It is a problem as old as the hills, and it is not surprising that there have been hundreds of books dedicated to the subject of improving productivity. But sometimes the best ideas are the simplest, which is why one of the most popular and enduring ways to boost productivity is the Pomodoro Technique. This technique, although based on exceedingly simple principles, has a cult following among business people, many of whom claim miraculous results through following it.
What is Pomodoro?
This technique of improving time management and productivity became popular in the 1980’s and has many loyal advocates. If you recognise, but can’t place the word, it is Italian for tomato - and the tomato theme runs heavily through the method’s branding, giving it a fun and colourful twist. The basic principle is to schedule your time more actively, booking in short slots of 25 minutes to work on specific tasks - and equally blocking out regular rest breaks of 5 minutes to allow recovery.
What are the benefits?
One of the main benefits is the simplicity with the whole principle requiring under an hour to understand from the books available. Being able to really master the methods takes only a few weeks, as they need to become regular practises and habits for them to work well for you. You are then better able to work with time, rather than racing against it, and manage your distractions more effectively through use of the technique, which users claim to be ’life changing’. The scheduled rest time can also be useful in the battle against burnout, helping your body and mind to recover and improving your long term well-being.
The technique - needless to say - improves productivity, allowing you to focus more on the tasks you are completing, in the time slots allocated for them. Because you have mentally assigned the time for other activities, it is easier to ignore the random issues that float past your brain and can be a distraction when you ought to be concentrating. It can also improve your productivity because the rest time can be an aid to overcoming the stress and anxiety which tend to damage our productivity and focus when we are overwrought.
How do I learn more?
The Pomodoro technique is explained in a book which can be purchased in paper or ebook format, or even as an audio book for the really time starved. Listen to it in the car on the way to work and you’re even learning about productivity in the most productive way possible! You can also buy an official Pomodoro timer - as you may guess, it is shaped as a tomato - to help motivate and remind you about the technique principles.
The team behind Pomodoro are also working on an app to allow users instant access through their smart phones - bringing a thirty year old idea right up to date. There are, however, numerous other apps which embrace the same principles, but do not have the endorsement of the official owners. To get started with the ideas, visit the website to read more, including a blog giving thoughts and ideas about how to get the best from the methods. You can even take a course or learn to teach others the methodology if it really suits you.
And whilst you’re exploring, schedule yourself some time to think about what you will do with all those extra hours you find by being more productive - you could learn that new language you’ve been thinking about, set up a side hustle, or hit the gym. And all through the power of a tomato.