The Pomodoro Technique has Arthritis (and 3 Tips to Maximize ROI with Pomodoro)
Touted to be one of the best productivity techniques, the Pomodoro brings immense utility to the table.
But it might have arthritis.
What is the Pomodoro Technique?
Developed by Francesco Cirillo, the Pomodoro Technique is a time-management strategy that aims at boxing in the execution of tasks, segregated with frequent short breaks for fighting mental fatigue.
After every 4 Pomodoros (25mins focus sessions), take a longer break of 15–30 minutes.
To maximize productivity in each focus session, it is critical to:
→ Divide complex tasks into smaller, actionable steps.
→ A distraction, interruption-free environment
→ Use an ‘Inbox zone’ for the random spark of ideas and ‘Up Next’ to reduce decision-making.
La Tomatina to your Productivity
As easy as it is to flick ‘Focus mode’ on, play ‘Focus music’ or ASMR for concentration, there is no switch to turn off the monkey mind.
Let me ask you:
- You have completed 2 Pomodoro cycles and you are taking that well-deserved 5-minute break. You call your SO and get into an argument. Can’t shake it off when 5 minutes are up, can you?
- After completing 4 Pomodoro cycles, you go for a 15 min walk. On your way back a ferocious dog starts chasing you and you take a tumble. Are you able to put it aside and start work as if that didn’t happen?
- You structured your day the night before and are ready to make the most of it. 10 minutes before work, you get to know about the school shooting in Texas. Are you able to shut your emotions and thoughts and bang out a 25-minute focused session?
After initial impact, many day-to-day occurrences leave residue impact which our mind plays back for processing. The Pomodoro technique, while exceptional at making practitioners productive, does not factor in the touch points outside the 25-minute bracket(s).
When leveraging the Pomodoro Technique, do 35-minute sessions instead.
Allow yourself the time to gather your thoughts, grab a coffee, listen to a motivational talk, make a paper note of your frustrations and burn it, or punch a wall. Be in-distractable for the next 25 minutes.
Use the remaining 5 minutes for cooling down. Reflect on progress, jot down pointers for the next cycle, check emails/slack notifications, or punch a wall.
When the break begins- Live, Laugh, Enjoy.
3 Tips to Maximize your Productivity
Here are 3 personal tips that have helped me achieve laser-focused Pomodoro cycles without tiring me out.
→ Turn on focus mode- Leverage focus mode on your phone and laptop both for reducing distractions to dust.
→ Work from 2 different spots- Sitting at one spot gets fatiguing day-in, day-out; week-in, week-out. Switch places to get ‘a sense of starting afresh’ when you start to feel tired.
Work from home during the day, from the café later.
Work from the desk during the day, shift to the bean bag later.
Whatever switch and change tickle your fancy.
→ Understand tasks that play well with each other- Do not put all low-cognitive tasks into one bucket and all mentally challenging tasks into another. Distribute them as evenly as possible. Moving through some tasks at the speed of light helps boost motivation and induce a sense of accomplishment while working on a more complex task makes the Pomodoro cycle more rewarding.
Being in-distractable is a superpower in the age of digitally-borne distractions.
While it helps reign in your unkempt, dis-organized day, extracting maximum productivity from the Pomodoro Technique will yield higher ROI and help you make the most of your time.
Use focus music, understand ramp-up time and mental bottlenecks to your productivity, and use 3 tips enumerated above to win your day.