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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.

    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

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    Dinnie Muslihat

    Writer, content marketer & productivity enthusiast

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    Last Updated on April 19, 2021

    The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

    The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

    Think of yourself as a cup. Each day, you wake up full. But as you go about your day—getting tasks done and interacting with people—the amount in your cup gradually gets lower. And as such, you get less and less effective at whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. You’re running out of steam.

    The solution is obvious: if you don’t have anything left to pour out, then you need to find a way to fill yourself up again. In work terms, that means you should take a break—an essential form of revitalizing your motivation and focus.

    Taking a break may get a bad rap in hustle culture, but it’s an essential, science-based way to ensure you have the capacity to live your life the way you want to live it.

    In the 1980s, when scientists began researching burnout, they described this inner capacity as “resources.” We all need to replenish our resources to cope with stress, work effectively, and avoid burnout.[1]

    When the goal is to get things done, it may sound counterproductive to stop what you’re doing. But if you embrace the art of taking a break, you can be more efficient and effective at work.

    Here are five ways on how you can take a break and boost your productivity.

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    1. Break for the Right Amount of Time, at the Right Time

    When I started my first job out of college, I was bent on pleasing my boss as most entry-level employees do. So, every day, I punched in at 9 AM on the dot, took a 60-minute lunch break at noon, and left no earlier than 5 PM.

    As I’ve logged more hours in my career, I’ve realized the average, eight-hour workday with an hour lunch break simply isn’t realistic—especially if your goal is to put your best foot forward at work.

    That’s why popular productivity techniques like the Pomodoro advocate for the “sprint” principle. Basically, you work for a short burst, then stop for a short, five-minute break. While the Pomodoro technique is a step forward, more recent research shows a shorter burst of working followed by a longer pause from work might actually be a more effective way to get the most out of stepping away from your desk.

    The team at DeskTime analyzed more than 5 million records of how workers used their computers on the job. They found that the most productive people worked an average of 52 minutes, then took a 17-minute break afterward.[2]

    What’s so special about those numbers? Leave it to neuroscience. According to researchers, the human brain naturally works in spurts of activity that last an hour. Then, it toggles to “low-activity mode.”[3]

    Even so, keep in mind that whatever motivates you is the most effective method. It’s more about the premise—when you know you have a “finish line” approaching, you can stay focused on the task or project at hand.

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    There are many applications and tools that can help you block distracting websites and apps (such as social media) for specific periods of the day. Similarly, you can also use some mailing apps like Mailbrew to receive all the social media content or newsletters you don’t want to miss in your inbox at a time you decide.

    So, no matter how long you work, take a break when you sense you’re losing steam or getting bored with the task. Generally, a 10-15 minute break should reinvigorate you for whatever’s coming next.

    2. Get a Change of Scenery—Ideally, Outdoors

    When it comes to increasing a person’s overall mental health, there’s no better balm than nature. Research has found that simply being outside can restore a person’s mind from mental fatigue related to work or studying, ultimately contributing to improved work performance (and even improved work satisfaction).[4]

    No lush forest around? Urban nature can be just as effective to get the most out of your break-taking. Scientists Stephen R. Kellert and Edward O. Wilson, in their book The Biophilia Hypothesis, claimed that even parks, outdoor paths, and building designs that embrace “urban nature” can lend a sense of calm and inspiration, encouraging learning and alertness for workers.

    3. Move Your Body

    A change of scenery can do wonders for your attention span and ability to focus, but it’s even more beneficial if you pair it with physical movement to pump up that adrenaline of yours. Simply put, your body wasn’t designed to be seated the entire day. In fact, scientists now believe that extended periods of sitting are just as dangerous to health as smoking.[5]

    It’s not always feasible to enjoy the benefits of a 30-minute brisk walk during your workday, especially since you’ll most likely have less energy during workdays. But the good news is, for productivity purposes, you don’t have to. Researchers found that just 10 minutes of exercise can boost your memory and attention span throughout the entire day.[6]

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    So, instead of using your break to sit and read the news or scroll your social media account, get out of your chair and move your body. Take a quick walk around the block. Do some jumping jacks in your home office. Whatever you choose, you’ll likely find yourself with a sharper focus—and more drive to get things done.

    4. Connect With Another Person

    Social connection is one of the most important factors for resilience. When we’re in a relationship with other people, it’s easier to cope with stress—and in my experience, getting social can also help to improve focus after a work break.

    One of my favorite ways to break after a 30-or-so minute sprint is to hang out with my family. And once a week, I carve out time to Skype my relatives back in Turkey. It’s amazing how a bit of levity and emotional connection can rev me up for the next work sprint.

    Now that most of us are working from home, getting some face-to-face time with a loved one isn’t as hard as it once was. So, take the time to chat with your partner. Take your kids outside to run around the backyard. If you live alone, call a friend or relative. Either way, coming up for air to chat with someone who knows and cares about you will leave you feeling invigorated and inspired.

    5. Use Your Imagination

    When you’re working with your head down, your brain has an ongoing agenda: get things done, and do it well. That can be an effective method for productivity, but it only lasts so long—especially because checking things off your to-do list isn’t the only ingredient to success at work. You also need innovation.

    That’s why I prioritize a “brain break” every day. When I feel my “cup” getting empty, I usually choose another creative activity to exercise my brain, like a Crossword puzzle, Sudoku, or an unrelated, creative project in my house.

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    And when I’m really struggling to focus, I don’t do anything at all. Instead, I let my brain roam free for a bit, following my thoughts down whatever trail they lead me. As it turns out, there’s a scientific benefit to daydreaming. It reinforces creativity and helps you feel more engaged with the world, which will only benefit you in your work.[7]

    Whether you help your kids with their distance learning homework, read an inspiring book, or just sit quietly to enjoy some fresh air, your brain will benefit from an opportunity to think and feel without an agenda. And, if you’re anything like me, you might just come up with your next great idea when you aren’t even trying.

    Final Thoughts

    Most of us have to work hard for our families and ourselves. And the current world we live in demands the highest level of productivity that we can offer. However, we also have to take a break once in a while. We are humans, after all.

    Learning the art of properly taking a break will not only give you the rest you need but also increase your productivity in the long run.

    More on the Importance of Taking a Break

    Featured photo credit: Helena Lopes via unsplash.com

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