28 Aug The Pomodoro Technique: The Technique I Wish I Knew When I was In School
I’ve always prided myself in being someone who is great at multitasking and saw my all-nighters as a sign of being a hard, dedicated worker. Well, I see now that was quite the joke.
My all-nighters during school were actually a sign of poor prioritizing, zero time management, and procrastination.
As the saying goes – A polished turd is still a turd. I put a whoooole lot of unnecessary stress on myself so to think that I even praised myself for it is pretty laughable.
You guys, if I had known this next technique while I was in school – I’m sure I would have had grades that were a lot higher and wouldn’t have had to pull so many damn all-nighters.
It’s as simple as it is super effective and I’m stoked to share it with you.
It’s called the Pomodoro Technique
Developed by Italian entrepreneur Francesco Cirillo, the simple technique has become world-renowned for its effectiveness. It’s been used not only by students, but by multiple Fortune 500 companies.
Francesco is a recognized global specialist in mentoring and consulting. He works with entrepreneurs and a wide range of companies, specializing in efficiency. Basically – the guy knows what he’s talking about.
Here are the steps
1) Identify the task at hand.
Notice how it says task, not tasks. One at a time.
2) Set a timer for 25 minutes.
This can be done by setting an actual timer, but I find this can lead to staring at it too often.
Rob Dial (this dude is awesome; that’s for another time but you should check him out), a successful entrepreneur and business coach, recommends playing a YouTube video with study music.
Just fast-forward it to have 25 minutes left it it’s too long. If you’re someone who likes to work in silence, that’s cool too.
3) Work on the task with no distractions until the time is up.
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Stay off your damn phone. It’s only 25 minutes.
4) Stop working when the task is done.
This can be hard if you’re like me and like to work for hours at a time once you get into the groove, but I’ll explain a bit later the psychology behind why you should still take a break.
5) Take a 5 minute break and move onto the next task or continue the same one.
Surf Instagram, get up and have a snack, stretch.
Do whatever you gotta do, but be ready to get back to it.
6) After doing four 5-minute intervals, take a longer break (20-30 minutes) and start again.
Again, do whatever you want.
I’d suggest some exercise or stretching, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t use this time to go on my phone while trying this technique the last couple of days. Whatever. I earned it.
Fun Fact: Pomodoro means tomato in Italian and it was named after the tomato-shaped timer the inventor of the technique used.
So what’s the science behind why the Pomodoro Technique works?
Being on a time crunch creates a sense of urgency.
Rather than having the mentality of “I have the whole day to do this” and giving into endless distractions, you’ve only got the 25 minutes to hustle.
Taking short breaks helps you fight boredom and concentrate better.
After about ten minutes of intense focus, the human brain starts to fizzle out. If you go past 25 minutes, you’re more than likely running on low fuel.
There are multiples studies that tell us that short breaks keep us on track. Click here for one of them lead by researchers at the University of Illinois.
The pattern of working-then-breaking in the Pomodoro Technique is great for motivation.
You create a reward system. You know at the end of that 25 minutes, an earned break is coming up. Think Pavlov theory; we are just animals after all.
Reward yourself and your brain will keep wanting to perform the tasks that lead to this reward again. All that dopamine.
The time-management technique also helps fight decision fatigue.
It’s been proven in psychology that after long sessions of decision making, the quality of the decisions made goes down.
We’ve all been there. You’re tired and you just don’t give a crap anymore. Sometimes the decisions are completely irrational.
The worst part of decision fatigue is that, unlike physical fatigue, it can often go undetected. Worry not! Taking breaks helps combat this too.
Seriously, I wish I had known about the Pomodoro Technique when I was a student.
It’s a great method for dealing with a short attention span and getting Sh*t done.
If you’re still in school, please at least try it out. If you’re getting old like me (jk, forever young), then this can be applied to any kind of work, whether it be in your career or your personal life.
Only two days in and I’m feeling crazy efficient.
As always, thank you for reading and please let me know your thoughts!