What is the Pomodoro technique?

A term which may be new to many people, the Pomodoro technique is a time management scheme developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. It is a way to focus on one goal at a time, break the goal into smaller tasks further and complete them. Tomato, as it is called Pomodoro in Italian, the technique got its name from the tomato shaped kitchen timer which Cirillo used as a student.

This technique is a solution to enhance your productivity. Many of us do have issues with our productivity skills, as we plan for many aims to achieve, but do not work up to the required level. This technique sets a path and way to work towards our goals and makes an efficient time management plan to achieve them.

pomodoro technique teachers productivity

What is the procedure involved in Pomodoro technique?

The steps involved in the Pomodoro time management technique are as follows:

  1. Make your mind up on the task to be completed.
  2. Set the Pomodoro timer to a particular time. Usually, the time interval chosen is 25 minutes. This time interval is the length of one Pomodoro, or Pom.
  3. Work on the chosen task until the timer buzzes off. If you have a distraction in your mind about another thing, write it down somewhere so that you do not forget and continue with your chosen task.
  4. After the timer rings, put a checkmark on a paper. One Pomodoro is done!
  5. If you have less than four checkmarks, keep a short break of approximately 3 to 5 minutes in between and repeat step 1.
  6. After you are through with four Pomodoros, take a longer break, let’s say 15-30 minutes. You may do other tasks around you in this short period of time. When the break is over, go back to step one.

Seems quite simple, right! Indeed it is quite simple. Let us discuss the steps further in detail, so that it becomes much easier for you to understand the technique.

  1. To identify the task

Go through the list of tasks you have got to do. If you do not maintain such a list, then write them down on a piece of paper. Out of the tasks that you come across, pick up the three most important ones.

Let us take a sample situation to understand this better. Suppose your to do list says that you have the following set of tasks to be completed within this week:-

  • Book a flight to California for your parents
  • Prepare a class activity plan for the next day’s class schedule
  • Go through your student’s test marks and prepare an exploratory analysis
  • Fix the dripping tap in the washroom
  • Make a report of the recent annual day event at your school
  • Analyze the current e-learning trends and make a presentation for PTA

Well, it seems you have a hectic weekend ahead! To make it simple for you, let’s use the Pomodoro technique and see what magic it can do for you.

Select the three most important tasks out of the above list, which are to say to prepare a class activity plan for the class, make a report of the annual day and a presentation about the current e-learning trends.

Now, out of these, select the one which is the most complex one and you feel is more important. Since all of the above are work related targets, pick up the one that is of immediate use. Let us take the task of preparing the class activity plan.

This will be your first task for the Pomodoro technique.

  1. Set your Pomodoro time

The next step to do is to fix the time for your task. It does not matter which timer you choose for the task, all it needs is to buzz at the right time.

  1. Work on the task until the timer buzzes

Begin with the most complex task chosen, i.e. to prepare the class activity plan. Start working on it right away without wasting any time. As soon as you begin, start your timer too, and continue your work.

To work effectively on your task, follow these important tips:

  • Focus on only one technique at a time while you go ahead with your Pomodoro.
  • When your Pomodoro timer ends, stop then and there. Even if you feel a few more minutes will help you end the task, do not go ahead. Stop the moment the alarm sounds off.
  • If you could not kill your task in one Pomodoro session, do it in the next Pomodoro.
  • If you have completed the Pomodoro task before the scheduled time, do not stop. Keep working on it. You can review your work and make improvements in it.
  1. Take a five minute break

When you are done with your first Pomodoro, take a short break of 5 minutes. Have some water, use the loo or anything else to refresh you for the next Pomodoro. You can make up your mind for the smaller tasks as well. In the list mentioned above, there are some smaller tasks as well, such as fixing the dripping tap. During your short break, you can call the plumber and discuss about the help you need and appoint him the time to visit your house to fix the tap. See, you just took a step towards completing another task!

  1. A longer break after every 4 Pomodoros

Well, you will be exhausted after you continuously work through the four Pomodoros. Take a longer break of 15 to 30 minutes. During this break, do something which is not related to your tasks. This will help you refresh better. Take a shower, have a meal or take a power nap. Once you are through with the break, start again with the Pomodoro cycle. Keep working on the tasks until they are completed. Make sure you work in the correct order too, to keep up your productivity.

How will the Pomodoro technique benefit you?

There are numerous ways in which this smart and simple technique will enhance your productivity at work. Here are the benefits which you will draw out of the Pomodoro technique:

  1. It can be a great way to keep you at toes. Often we feel stressed out to do the regular chores. Or, it can also happen that we tend to do all the stuff at once, and lose our track. Pomodoro technique can be a great way to keep a track of things without wasting time.
  2. It can motivate you for your workout as well. The breaks in between can be the intervals to refresh you and you can have a great routine with the Pomodoro technique.
  3. The best use of Pomodoro technique is to do the work-related stuff at home, as done in the example above.

Try doing this technique for any of your task. Slowly, apply the technique to more of your tasks, and you will begin to see how much it the technique working out for you. For increasing productivity on a larger scale, set the Pomodoro timer for your group as well, while you work on your targets, so that they can benefit from the technique as well!