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Last Updated on April 22, 2020

Why the Pomodoro Method Is the Best Productivity Timer

Why the Pomodoro Method Is the Best Productivity Timer

Studying and concentrating at work isn’t always the easiest thing to do. With so many distractions around, wouldn’t it be great if there was something that could keep you consistently productive throughout the day?

Luckily, there are productivity timers.

Productivity timers are tools that can keep you on task when you find it difficult to focus. And the best one out there is the Pomodoro Method. If you’re after a tried and true technique that can help you to block out distractions, then keep reading to find out more.

What is the Pomodoro Method?

While more of a method than an actual tool, the Pomodoro Technique is a time management method created by Francesco Cirillo in the 1990s that emphasizes timing your work and taking breaks.[1] The name derives from the Italian word for ‘tomato’, after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer Cirillo used to time himself when he studied during his time at university.

The method requires you to work in 25 minute intervals, known as pomodoros, while focusing on only one thing. After each pomodoro, you take a 5-minute break, then repeat the process. After completing 4 pomodoros, you’re able to take longer breaks of 15 to 30 minutes.

This method works well as a productivity timer because it forces you to focus on one thing at a time. It’s also effective because it asks you to aim for something that’s actually achievable. The 25 minute intervals you’re expected to work and refrain from distraction is a totally realistic goal.

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Here are 6 simple steps to follow when you want to Pomodoro:

  • Step 1: Pick a task. Remember you can only focus on one thing, so prioritize accordingly.
  • Step 2: Set your timer to 25 minutes. You can simply use the timer on your phone or you can take it up a notch and get yourself a tomato-shaped kitchen timer.
  • Step 3: Work on the selected task. For the next 25 minutes, shut off distractions and completely immerse yourself on what’s in front of you.
  • Step 4: When you hear the timer go off, stop working and put a checkmark on a piece of paper.
  • Step 5: Take a short break. Make sure it doesn’t exceed 5 minutes!
  • Step 6: After you have 4 checkmarks on your piece of paper, you can take a longer break of about 15 to 30 minutes long. After that, restart your count and repeat steps 1 to 5 until you reach another 4 checkmarks where you can take another longer break.

Why the Pomodoro Method is the Best Productivity Timer

Here’re 5 reasons why the Pomodoro Method is a great productivity timer:

Supercharge Your Focus

The Pomodoro Method is great for training yourself to block out distractions and to concentrate on one thing at a time. By repeating the method over and over again, you can boost your focus levels and tap into your deep thinking skills.

Manage Expectations

Because you’re able to measure the time it takes you to complete tasks more accurately, using this method can help you to manage expectations.

You no longer have to fool yourself—or the people you work with—into thinking you can complete a 3-hour task in half an hour for instance.

Know the Value of Your Time

If you’re a freelancer or someone who works on flat rate projects, the Pomodoro Method is a good way to track the time you spend on your work so that you can charge a fee that is truly reflective of the work you do.

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Maintain Your Wellbeing

Most people who implement the Pomodoro Method are those who are desk-bound, whether working in an office or studying at home or in a library. Because it recommends taking regular breaks, it can reduce your chances of fatigue.

It gives you the opportunity to reinvigorate your mind and get you ready for the next session of focus.

Actually Accomplish Goals

The reason why so many people swear by this productivity timer is because it offers a realistic and achievable goal. Unlike other techniques out there, the success of this particular method comes down to its simplicity and practicality.

Things You Can Do During the Breaks

Now that you understand how the Pomodoro Method works, maybe you’re wondering how to make good use of the breaks. Here’re 5 things you can do during the breaks:

1. Drink Water

Keeping yourself hydrated is not only one of the most important things you can do for your health, but it can also have a great effect on your focus and concentration. A study conducted by the University of East London in 2013 found that drinking water can increase your productivity by 14%![2]

2. Move Your Body

Use the time between the Pomodoros to get up and move your body.

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Whether it’s simply walking to the bathroom or getting up from your chair and doing a couple of stretches, it’s vital that you take your eyes away from the screen from time to time and keep active throughout the day.

Try these 15 Simple And Quick Office Stretches To Boost Work Efficiency.

3. Go Outside

If you have the opportunity to go outside, then grabbing some fresh air is a great way to spend your breaks. Research has shown that fresh air plays a significant role in maintaining your health as it can reduce the chances of being sick and getting infected.[3]

While this may not work well in the 5-minute breaks, it’s definitely doable in the longer breaks.

4. Do Some Chores

If you’re working or studying at home, then you can spend your time during the productivity timer breaks to complete some quick chores.

Taking out the rubbish, checking the mailbox, or washing the dishes are a few examples of things that enable you to do something productive during your breaks.

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5. Check Your Phone

Because you’ve focused solely on your work during the Pomodoros, the breaks in between are a great opportunity to check your phone or email to see if you’ve received any important messages.

Avoid engaging in social media as it may be tricky to get back into the groove of concentration after break time is up.

The Bottom Line

The Pomodoro Method is the best productivity timer because it encourages you to consistently be productive throughout the day through a practical approach. The goal that it asks you to strive for is something realistic and doable for almost anyone who wants to attempt it.

Being able to shut off distractions and keep yourself focused, whether at work or while studying, is a great skill to possess. Like any other skill, in order to excel at it, you have to practice and develop it, and the Pomodoro Method offers you a good way to do it.

More About Staying Focused

Featured photo credit: Jonah Bedford via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Dinnie Muslihat

Writer, content marketer & productivity enthusiast

How to Write SMART Goals (With SMART Goals Templates) How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules Why the Pomodoro Method Is the Best Productivity Timer 10 Smart Time Management Techniques to End Busyness 10 Organizational Skills Training Techniques for the Overwhelmed

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Last Updated on September 30, 2020

Effective vs Efficient: What’s the Difference Regarding Productivity?

Effective vs Efficient: What’s the Difference Regarding Productivity?

When it comes to being effective vs efficient, there are a lot of similarities, and because of this, they’re often misused and misinterpreted, both in daily use and application.

Every business should look for new ways to improve employee effectiveness and efficiency to save time and energy in the long term. Just because a company or employee has one, however, doesn’t necessarily mean that the other is equally present.

Utilizing both an effective and efficient methodology in nearly any capacity of work and life will yield high levels of productivity, while a lack of it will lead to a lack of positive results.

Before we discuss the various nuances between the word effective and efficient and how they factor into productivity, let’s break things down with a definition of their terms.

Effective vs Efficient

Effective is defined as “producing a decided, decisive, or desired effect.” Meanwhile, the word “efficient ” is defined as “capable of producing desired results with little or no waste (as of time or materials).”[1]

A rather simple way of explaining the differences between the two would be to consider a light bulb. Say that your porch light burned out and you decided that you wanted to replace the incandescent light bulb outside with an LED one. Either light bulb would be effective in accomplishing the goal of providing you with light at night, but the LED one would use less energy and therefore be the more efficient choice.

Now, if you incorrectly set a timer for the light, and it was turned on throughout the entire day, then you would be wasting energy. While the bulb is still performing the task of creating light in an efficient manner, it’s on during the wrong time of day and therefore not effective.

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The effective way is focused on accomplishing the goal, while the efficient method is focused on the best way of accomplishing the goal.

Whether we’re talking about a method, employee, or business, the subject in question can be either effective or efficient, or, in rare instances, they can be both.

When it comes to effective vs efficient, the goal of achieving maximum productivity is going to be a combination where the subject is effective and as efficient as possible in doing so.

Effectiveness in Success and Productivity

Being effective vs efficient is all about doing something that brings about the desired intent or effect[2]. If a pest control company is hired to rid a building’s infestation, and they employ “method A” and successfully completed the job, they’ve been effective at achieving the task.

The task was performed correctly, to the extent that the pest control company did what they were hired to do. As for how efficient “method A” was in completing the task, that’s another story.

If the pest control company took longer than expected to complete the job and used more resources than needed, then their efficiency in completing the task wasn’t particularly good. The client may feel that even though the job was completed, the value in the service wasn’t up to par.

When assessing the effectiveness of any business strategy, it’s wise to ask certain questions before moving forward:

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  • Has a target solution to the problem been identified?
  • What is the ideal response time for achieving the goal?
  • Does the cost balance out with the benefit?

Looking at these questions, a leader should ask to what extent a method, tool, or resource meets the above criteria and achieve the desired effect. If the subject in question doesn’t hit any of these marks, then productivity will likely suffer.

Efficiency in Success and Productivity

Efficiency is going to account for the resources and materials used in relation to the value of achieving the desired effect. Money, people, inventory, and (perhaps most importantly) time, all factor into the equation.

When it comes to being effective vs efficient, efficiency can be measured in numerous ways[3]. In general, the business that uses fewer materials or that is able to save time is going to be more efficient and have an advantage over the competition. This is assuming that they’re also effective, of course.

Consider a sales team for example. Let’s say that a company’s sales team is tasked with making 100 calls a week and that the members of that team are hitting their goal each week without any struggle.

The members on the sales team are effective in hitting their goal. However, the question of efficiency comes into play when management looks at how many of those calls turn into solid connections and closed deals.

If less than 10 percent of those calls generate a connection, the productivity is relatively low because the efficiency is not adequately balancing out with the effect. Management can either keep the same strategy or take a new approach.

Perhaps they break up their sales team with certain members handling different parts of the sales process, or they explore a better way of connecting with their customers through a communications company.

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The goal is ultimately going to be finding the right balance, where they’re being efficient with the resources they have to maximize their sales goals without stretching themselves too thin. Finding this balance is often easier said than done, but it’s incredibly important for any business that is going to thrive.

Combining Efficiency and Effectiveness to Maximize Productivity

Being effective vs efficient works best if both are pulled together for the best results.

If a business is ineffective in accomplishing its overall goal, and the customer doesn’t feel that the service is equated with the cost, then efficiency becomes largely irrelevant. The business may be speedy and use minimal resources, but they struggle to be effective. This may put them at risk of going under.

It’s for this reason that it’s best to shoot for being effective first, and then work on bringing efficiency into practice.

Improving productivity starts with taking the initiative to look at how effective a company, employee, or method is through performance reviews. Leaders should make a point to regularly examine performance at all levels on a whole, and take into account the results that are being generated.

Businesses and employees often succumb to inefficiency because they don’t look for a better way, or they lack the proper tools to be effective in the most efficient manner possible.

Similar to improving a manager or employee’s level of effectiveness, regularly measuring the resources needed to obtain the desired effect will ensure that efficiency is being accounted for. This involves everything from keeping track of inventory and expenses, to how communication is handled within an organization.

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By putting in place a baseline value for key metrics and checking them once changes have been made, a company will have a much better idea of the results they’re generating.

It’s no doubt a step-by-step process. By making concentrated efforts, weakness can be identified and rectified sooner rather than later when the damage is already done.

Bottom Line

Understanding the differences between being effective vs efficient is key when it comes to maximizing productivity. It’s simply working smart so that the intended results are achieved in the best way possible. Finding the optimal balance should be the ultimate goal for employees and businesses:

  • Take the steps that result in meeting the solution.
  • Review the process and figure out how to do it better.
  • Repeat the process with what has been learned in a more efficient manner.

And just like that, effective and efficient productivity is maximized.

More on How to Improve Productivity

Featured photo credit: Tim van der Kuip via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: effective and efficient
[2] Mind Tools: Being Effective at Work
[3] Inc.: 8 Things Really Efficient People Do

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