So let’s get one thing straight – the Pomodoro is not an Italian tomato, not in this context anyway, but rather it is a time management technique. More on this later but first the Parkinson law. We know already that Parkinson’s law states that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”. In other words, if you have to write a report and you allocate a whole afternoon to this then you will likely find that the report gets finished within that time. However if you reduce the allocated time by, say 20%, then you will also find that the report gets finished within that time. Obviously there is a limit to it, but what is important is the time that we allow ourselves to complete a task. Another example, if you decide to spend time on three occasions a day to check email and allocate a finite time to this then you are more likely to complete that task within that time. A set time allows us to have a finish line before us which we have to reach, and so we pace ourselves accordingly.
Pomodoro – In a nutshell what is it?
- Choose a task.
- Set a timer to 25 minutes.
- Work on the task until the timer goes off.
- Record the time spent on the task with an “x”.
- Take a short break, say…5 minutes.
- Repeat the above process four times.
- After every four tasks completions ( or “pomodoros”), take a longer break – anywhere between 15–20 minutes.
Here is a short video that explains it in under 2:30 minutes.
Pomodoro – how to deal with distractions?
- Inform – let the (distracting) person know that you are in the middle of something that you need to finish.
- Negotiate – quickly establish when you can return to them to deal with the new thing that has just come up. At this point you are letting them know that you got it but also give them time frame. Make a note of it quickly so that you also know it is scheduled.
Call Back – you have set the expectation in the second step so when the Pomodoro is finished attack the issue that came up. Doing this will help you to stay focused.
Pomodoro – is it effective?
- not enough time in the day
- not being able to finish things
- work vs personal time balance