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Published on July 29, 2019

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

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Last Updated on December 10, 2019

How to Stay Motivated and Reach Your Big Goals in Life

How to Stay Motivated and Reach Your Big Goals in Life

It is hardly a secret that the key to successfully accomplishing one goal after another is staying motivated. There are, of course, tasks which successful people may not like at all, yet they find motivation to complete them because they recognize how each particular task serves a greater goal.

So how to stay motivated most of the time? Here are 5 simple yet effective ways on how to stay motivated and get what you want:

1. Find Your Good Reasons

Anything you do, no matter how simple, has a number of good reasons behind it.

You may not be able to find good reasons to do some tasks at first but, if you take just a few moments to analyze them, you will easily spot something good. We also have many tasks which don’t need any reasoning at all – we’ve been doing them for so long that they feel natural.

If you’re ever stuck with some tasks you hate and there seems to be no motivation to complete it whatsoever, here’s what you need to do: find your good reasons.

Even when you set goals, there needs to be reasons behind these goals. They may not be obvious, but stay at it until you see some, as this will bring your motivation back and will help you finish the task.

Some ideas for what a good reason can be:

  • A material reward – quite often, you will get paid for doing something you normally don’t like doing at all.
  • Personal gain – you will learn something new or will perhaps improve yourself in a certain way.
  • A feeling of accomplishment – at least you’ll be able to walk away feeling great about finding the motivation and courage to complete such a tedious task.
  • A step closer to your bigger goal – even the biggest accomplishments in history have started small and relied on simple and far less pleasant tasks than you might be working on. Every task you complete brings you closer to the ultimate goal, and acknowledging this always feels good.

2. Make It Fun

When it comes to motivation, attitude is everything. Different people may have completely opposite feelings towards the same task: some will hate it, others will love it.

Why do you think this happens? It’s simple: some of us find ways to make any task interesting and fun to do!

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Take sports for example. Visiting your local gym daily for a half-an-hour workout session sounds rather boring to some. Yet many others love the idea!

They like exercising not only because they recognize the good reasons behind it, but simply because it’s fun! At certain time of their daily schedule, they find going to gym to be the best thing to do, simply because nothing else will fit their time and lifestyle so perfectly.

Depending on how you look at it, you can have fun doing just about anything! Just look for ways of having fun, and you’ll find them!

A simple approach is to start working on any task by asking yourself a few questions:

  • How can I enjoy this task?
  • What can I do to make this task fun for myself and possibly for others?
  • How can I make this work the best part of my day?

As long as you learn to have the definite expectation of any task being potentially enjoyable, you will start to feel motivated.

Some of you will probably think of a thing or two which are valid exceptions from this statement, like something you always hate doing no matter how hard you try making it fun. You’re probably right, and that’s why I don’t claim everything to be fun.

However, most tasks have a great potential of being enjoyable, and so looking for ways to have fun while working is definitely a good habit to acquire.

3. Change Your Approach And Don’t Give Up

When something doesn’t feel right, it’s always a good time to take a moment and look for a different approach for the task.

You may be doing everything correctly and most efficiently, but such approach isn’t necessarily the most motivating one. Quite often, you can find a number of obvious tweaks to your current approach which will both change your experience and open up new possibilities.

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That’s why saying “one way or another” is so common — if you really want to accomplish your goal, there is always a way; and most likely, there’s more than one way.

If a certain approach doesn’t work for you, find another one, and keep trying until you find the one which will both keep you motivated and get you the desired results.

Some people think that trying a different approach means giving up. They take pride in being really stubborn and refusing to try any other options on their way towards the goal.

My opinion on this is that the power of focus is great, but you should be focusing on your goal, and not limiting your options by focusing on just one way to accomplish it it.

4. Recognize Your Progress

Everything you may be working on can be easily split into smaller parts and stages. For most goals, it is quite natural to split the process of accomplishing them into smaller tasks and milestones. There are a few reasons behind doing this, and one of them is tracking your progress.

We track our progress automatically with most activities. But to stay motivated, you need to recognize your progress, not merely track it.

Here’s how tracking and recognizing your progress is different:

Tracking is merely taking a note of having reached a certain stage in your process. Recognizing is taking time to look at a bigger picture and realize where exactly you are, and how much more you have left to do.

For example, if you’re going to read a book, always start by going through the contents table. Getting familiar with chapter titles and memorizing their total number will make it easier for you to recognize your progress as you read. Confirming how many pages your book has before starting it is also a good idea.

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You see, reading any book you will be automatically looking at page numbers and chapter titles, but without knowing the total number of pages, this information will have little meaning.

Somehow, it is human nature to always want things to happen in short term or even at once. Even though we split complex tasks into simpler actions, we don’t quite feel the satisfaction until all is done and the task is fully complete.

For many scenarios though, the task is so vast that such approach will drain all the motivation out of you long before you have a chance to reach your goal. That’s why it is important to always take small steps and recognize the positive different and progress made. This is how your motivation can sustain in long term.

5. Reward Yourself

This is a trick everyone likes: rewarding yourself is always pleasant. This is also one of the easiest and at the same time most powerful ways to stay motivated!

Feeling down about doing something? Dread the idea of working on some task? Hate the whole idea of working? You’re not alone.

Right from the beginning, agree on some deliverables which will justify yourself getting rewarded. As soon as you get one of the agreed results, take time to reward yourself in some way.

For some tasks, just taking a break and relaxing for a few minutes will do.

For others, you may want to get a fresh cup of coffee and even treat yourself a dessert.

For even bigger and more demanding tasks, reward yourself by doing something even more enjoyable, like going to a cinema or taking a trip to some place nice, or even buying yourself something.

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Your progress may not seem to others like anything worth celebrating but, take time and do it anyway! It is your task and your reward, so any ways to stay motivated are good.

The more you reward yourself for the honestly made progress, the more motivated you will feel about reaching new milestones, thus finally accomplishing your goal.

Mix and Match

Now that you have these five ways of staying motivated, it is a good moment to give you the key to them all: mix and match!

Pick one of the techniques and apply it to your situation. If it doesn’t work, or if you simply want to get more motivated, try another technique right way. Mix different approaches and match them to your task for the best results.

Just think about it: Finding good reasons to work on your task is bound to helping you feel better; and identifying ways to make it fun will help you enjoy the task even more.

Or, if you plan a few points for easier tracking of your progress and on top of that, agree on rewarding yourself as you go; this will make you feel most motivated about anything you have to work through.

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Featured photo credit: Lucas Lenzi via unsplash.com

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