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Using the Pomodoro Method to Effectively Lead A Productive Workday
A Better Use of Your Time
You go to work, sip coffee, and click through social media. Between the cat and dog videos, the personality quizzes, and the angry tweets, you are unable to focus on the tasks at hand. Does that sound familiar? Trust me, it was the case for me too. Then, one day, I was watching a YouTube video where someone was talking about their time management habits. The one that stood out to me most was the Pomodoro method. Every time I use this method, I am able to accomplish tasks in a less stressful manner while efficiently concentrating. Curious? Read on!
User Your Time Wisely
Background and History
The Pomodoro method was created in the late 1980s by Francisco Cirillo, who was a developer and entrepreneur. Pomodoro, in Italian, means “tomato.” Through its name, Cirillo referenced the timer he used when in college, which, incidentally, was tomato-shaped.
This time-management technique is related to the concept of time-boxing. Time-boxing is exactly what it sounds like: you box out time in your schedule and dedicate it to a specific task. This hyper-focus helps with eliminating the concept of multi-tasking, which is rather common these days. One task at a time and you dedicate all your focus to this one task alone. Usually, the timer is set to a standard twenty-five-minute session. In turn, you are rewarded with a five to ten-minute break between Pomodoros. You can further develop your use of the method by including a goal of increment numbers you want to accomplish in a day. I usually aim for somewhere are eight; however, I want to get up to ten and higher.
Helpful Applications: Todoist
So, the question remains: how does one incorporate such a drastically different approach to one’s workday? I have been using this system for months. The Pomodoro method works well with an application onto computers or cell phones. Personally, I am fond of a few computer and IOS applications that facilitate the use of this method.
Before I get into the timer applications, I think the most useful thing to do first is to parse what you want to accomplish in a day. For this, I use the Todoist application on the computer and the IOS. It is a free application that helps list your goals for the day. I like that it is on both my iPod and on my computer because sometimes I work on tasks away from my computer but still want to cross them off my list for the day. Of course, I also use my bullet journal to list my daily tasks in relation to a larger monthly goal. For more on my bullet journal, check out my article here. You can organize your goals in folders on Todoist as well, which provides a visual separation of tasks you need to accomplish per day. The default tasks, which are referred to as projects, are listed as personal, shopping, work, errands, and movies to watch. Personally, I am still dabbling with moving between projects. I will definitely write more about them once I see what works best for me.
Helpful Application: Pomodone
Another application promoting the Pomodoro life is one called Pomodone. It is a perfect marriage between the ways of a Pomodoro timer and focusing on one goal at a time. Using this application, whether, on your computer or IOS, it helps to pace yourself. I like to use the timer while typing articles, or researching, commenting on posts, but whatever I do I keep it to one task only. Make it as specific as you can, too. By doing this, you unleash your utmost focus on the mission at hand, which is the best tip for productivity.
Helpful Applications: Ambient Noise
In addition, I like to eliminate the whole concept of music while working. I know that choosing just the right song distracts me from my tasks, so I resort to listening to ambient music. My favorites are Noisili, Rainy Mood, and My Noise. For my iPod, I rely on Relax Melodies and Rain Rain. Relax Melodies includes an overlap feature of different ambient noises. My favorites are the rain ones coupled with campfire sounds and some night ones too. This combination creates a feeling of being outdoors at night while camping, without the mosquitoes. For Rain Rain, there is also a feature of combining sounds, but only two at a time. On Rain Rain, I use a fire crackling noise with a cat purring. It is such a relaxing merging of settings that bring me peace. If you want to combine the Pomodoro timer with some ambiance, go for the Tide application. It has a more limited selection, but it works for the twenty-five-minute increments perfectly while playing some simple sounds. I usually go for the muse one, under the focus section.
While you may be tempted to rely on social media some more in-between increments, I think you should also consider giving your brain a break. In other words, try to go for a meditation session in there. Since starting therapy six years ago, I have been on a path to incorporate meditation into my life. My go-to is Headspace. I also try to use Calm. For more on my meditation practice, keep your eyes peeled. I will be writing more on this journey some more.
Another thing I would recommend for you to do is even more difficult but totally worth it. Try to do something physical. I like to stretch a lot because my body is prone to cramping. Yoga is an excellent way to pause and recenter your focus inward. We are often driven to do a lot of outward thinking. As in, we rely on outward rewards to our work. I invite you to shift your focus to your own well-being. Give your body a chance to connect with your mind. I really enjoy the body scan meditations. These types of meditations help check in with your body. They are relaxing and enlightening too
Take a Yoga Break!
Do the 'Doro
With this information, you are ready to conquer your to-do lists and accomplish all your goals in a timely manner. Enjoy having great focus while working and taking well-deserved breaks in between too. This method helps me balance my writing, reading, and meditating practices. They truly enhance my day so that I am not wasting my time by procrastinating. There is something so refreshing about holding yourself accountable for how you use your time. I like when Pomodone announces that I have completed a Pomodoro. It is the best feeling in the world to know that you have been only focusing on what you have intended. I am all for having fun but believe me, it is also worthwhile to have a satisfying work day. Besides, I cannot explain just how joyful it feels to cross tasks off your list. It is, for the lack of better words, the most comforting feeling to see yourself progressing. The sense of hope you get when you see that you are, in fact, accomplishing things is wonderful. I hope you get to feel this relief. Give these tips a shot and then let me know how you use them! Learning new ways to better use my time is always a priority to me. Let’s do the ‘doro.