#6: The Pomodoro Method

Do you ever feel overwhelmed when facing a large task load?
If the answer is yes, don’t worry. It’s a normal feeling and it’s not your fault. You weren’t taught how to deal with it.
The answer? Tomatoes.
An Italian student in the 1980s had trouble focusing on his assignments.
Feeling overwhelmed, he challenged himself to commit to a few minutes of focused study time. After experimenting with it, the Pomodoro method – which is Italian for tomato, named after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer he used – was born.

The method is simple.

  1. Write down your To Do’s.
  2. Set a timer for 25 minutes, and focus on a single task until it rings.
  3. Record what you did.
  4. Take a 5-minute break.
  5. Repeat 3 times, then after the fourth sprint, take a longer break.

Here are 5 ways to try out the Pomodoro method.

  1. Use a physical timer. This is great if you’re moving around a lot when performing your tasks.
  2. Use your computer’s built-in clock app. Great if you do most of your work on your computer but spread across different apps.
  3. Use a browser extension. A good option if your work is concentrated within your browser. I recommend Marina.
  4. Use a dedicated Pomodoro app. There are a few of these on the market and I’ve played around with them. I didn’t enjoy them though as I felt they turned something so simple into something needlessly complicated. Hundreds of features, settings to tweak, and integrations to the point where any time saved using it is offset by the time you wasted configuring it.
  5. Use an all-in-1 app with Pomodoro functionality. TickTick is the best example here. Its built-in timer is a natural extension of its tasks feature so you can quickly set up your task list for a Pomodoro sprint and get going.

Actionable advice for this week: try a Pomodoro session.

Do it mindfully. Watch your energy. You decide how many sprints you take, how long they last, and how long your breaks are. Go easy and experiment! Don’t do any more than what you can completely recover from the next day.

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