Productivity Tips: I Tried the Pomodoro Technique... Here Are My Thoughts (Review + Advice!)

by - July 01, 2020

I put the tomato method to the test. Here are my thoughts and tips on how you can best use it yourself!

Before trying out the pomodoro technique for real, I had read about it a few times on blogs. This method is supposed to increase your productivity effectively. As a productivity queen (or so I humbly call myself sometimes) I really wanted to try out this technique and review it on my blog. I have tried the method over a few afternoons, and now I can properly give you my opinion on it, and how you can best use it. Let's ket-jump into it... (Lame joke, I know.)

The pomodoro technique was invented by an Italian consultant based in Berlin, in the late 1980s. The technique takes its name from the timer he used to time himself for the purpose of using the method, his mother's tomato-shaped kitchen timer. Yes, sometimes, it's as simple as that. Cirillo devised a method that would maximise focus and attention for short amounts of time, leading to better productivity, than longer, more tedious work-sessions that would lead to a lack of focus and motivation. The pomodoro technique has been used by many, and was made for productivity in professional settings, however it can be used and adapted for many things, as you will see in this post. This method is now really famous and is deemed to work really well. Let's see if that is really the case...

The pomodoro technique is very codified, and needs to be followed properly to work to its best ability. It is a cyclical method that relies on 25-minute work sessions, followed by 5min breaks. Let's dive right into it:
1. You note down the task you want to achieve.
2. You divide your task in three 25-minute sessions, and give yourself an objective for each session.
3. Between each 25-minute session, you will have a 5min break.
4. Once you start your timer, you need to work for the whole 25 minutes without a break. 
5. Once your timer rings, you have a 5min break. While on this break, write down what you have done and tick it off your list. This is very important: seeing the tasks being ticked little by little will bring you gratification and motivation for the next step.
6. Once your 5 minutes are up, start a 25-minute timer again, and repeat the steps.
7. After three 25-minute sessions, take a longer break (about 10 to 15 minutes).

Obviously, this method is best for a work environment in which you need to get things done. Absolutely done. I, however, have tried this method at home during the lockdown. I have used it for my daily jobs, from marking school work for my pupils to working on my blog. I have been using my phone timer to set my 25-minute pomodori. During each 25-minute sessions, I have given myself a task. A task could be "comment on all the new blog posts I want to read," "tweak the signature in my old blog posts", "edit an Instagram photo"... I try to always plan for tasks that will take me those 25 minutes, however I have also done it with bigger tasks, which I would just get back to after the 5-minute break. My approach to the method has been very flexible, which I think is essential: if you get too stressed about respecting the method carefully, it will probably take up more of your attention that your tasks themselves!
I have found that when I plan my tasks better, I get more out of this method. Planning so that you don't overwhelm yourself with hard tasks for the whole 75-minute "circuit" is crutial, because the 5-minute breaks are short and definitely not long enough for you to take a proper breather after working on a strenuous task. 
In all honesty, I have not always enjoyed using the pomodoro technique. I have experimented with it on about six to seven different work afternoons, and some days the outcomes were more positive than others. I will tell you how specifically in the next section of this post:

While I would not necessarily recommend to follow the pomodoro method to a T, there are ways in which you can use it to increase your productivity, by making little adjustments and changes to make it a more pleasant way of working. Here are my tips:
- While you have the timer on, put some uplifting or calming music to motivate you and make you feel relaxed. This way you will enjoy your work time a lot more.
- Use your five-minute break to do something that takes your mind off your tasks a little. I've really enjoyed reading during those five minutes, because I find it relaxing and it also really helps me getting in some reading during busy days. After a few days of reading during my five-minute pomodoro breaks, I finished off a book I'd started some time ago and never found the time to read otherwise!
- Adapt the timer method to suit your needs better. For example, you could use different time slots and plan them out on a 75-minute session: 20 minutes of photo editing | 5min break | 25 minutes of blogpost writing | 5min break | 10 minutes to wash all your dishes | 10min break. And repeat until you've ticked off all your tasks for the day! If you need advice to keep motivated, read this post next!


What's your best method to spend a productive day? Would you try the pomodoro technique?

Lots of love,
Julia x

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