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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

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 is a productivity timer that is ready to rise to the challenge.

A productivity timer is a tool 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 technique created by Francesco Cirillo in the 1990s that emphasizes timing your work and taking breaks during focus sessions.[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 start working 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.[2]

The Pomodoro Technique productivity timer
    This method works well as a productivity timer because it forces you to focus on one thing at a time and practice task management within a time limit. 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.

    Here are 6 simple steps to follow when you want to try the Pomodoro productivity timer:

    • Step 1: Pick a task. Remember you can only focus on one thing, so prioritize accordingly.
    • Step 2: Set your timer for 25 minutes. You can use the timer on your phone, an online timer, a time-tracking app, 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 in 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, and 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. 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 are 5 reasons why the Pomodoro Method is a great productivity timer:

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    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 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.

    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.

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    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.

    When trying to reach your goals, in addition to using the this productivity timer, check out this free Lifehack Guide: The Dreamers’ Guide for Taking Action and Making Goals Happen. It will give you the boost you need to take your motivation to the next level.

    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 are 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%![3]

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    2. Move Your Body

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

    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, 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.[4]

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

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

    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.

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    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 timer offers you a good way to do it.

    More Tips on Staying Focused

    Featured photo credit: Jonah Bedford via unsplash.com

    Reference

    More by this author

    Dinnie Muslihat

    Writer, content marketer & productivity enthusiast

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    Last Updated on July 21, 2021

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

    No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

    Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

    Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

    A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

    Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

    In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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    From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

    A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

    For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

    This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

    The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

    That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

    Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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    The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

    Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

    But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

    The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

    The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

    A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

    For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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    But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

    If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

    For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

    These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

    For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

    How to Make a Reminder Works for You

    Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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    Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

    Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

    My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

    Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

    I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

    More on Building Habits

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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    Reference

    [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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