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Find it hard to concentrate at work? With so many distractions, wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to keep being consistently productive throughout your day? Well, you’re in luck. A productivity timer might be just the thing for you.
Without further ado, let’s answer the question.
Yes. The Pomodoro Method is a simple, practical way to help you develop your attention span and improve your ability to focus so that you can get more done. Using a productivity timer helps you learn how to be consistently productive throughout the day. Importantly, this technique allows ample time for short breaks to refresh your brain. This will help boost your motivation and creativity, both of which can have a positive impact on your productivity.
A productivity timer can help you stay on track when you find it difficult to focus, and one of the best techniques available is the Pomodoro Method. It’s a tried and tested technique that can help you minimise distractions and get more done. Intrigued?
Let’s find out more together.
What is the Pomodoro Technique?
The Pomodoro technique is a time management technique invented by Francisco Cirillo in the 1990s. It emphasises the need to time your work and take breaks during focus sessions. It got its funky name from the Italian word for tomato after Cirillo used a tomato-shaped timer to study in 25-minute increments.
To employ this method, you need to start working in 25-minute spurts, called pomodoros, in which you focus on doing only one thing. After each 25 minute interval, take a five-minute break and then repeat the process. After you finish 4 Pomodoro sessions, you can take a longer break of up to 30 minutes. The short breaks in between each Pomodoro are designed to bolster your motivation as well as your creativity.
This works well as a productivity timer because it forces you to concentrate on one task and practice time management. It also asks you to aim for something that you can achieve within that timeframe. That means it helps you set realistic goals.
How to use the Pomodoro timer and boost productivity
Here are steps to follow if you want to try using a Pomodoro timer:
- Choose a task. Keep in mind that you can only focus on one thing at a time, so prioritise accordingly.
- Set a timer for 25 minutes. You can do this on your phone, using a time tracking app, using a web-based timer or you can even get yourself a kitchen timer.
- Work on the task you’ve selected, eschewing any and all distractions until the 25 minutes is up.
- When the timer goes off, stop working and take a short break. Perhaps take a moment to marvel at how productive you’ve been. But don’t forget your break mustn’t last longer than 5 minutes.
- Repeat the process for 3 more 25-minute pomodoros. After you’ve completed 4, you can take longer break, of between 15 and 30 minutes.
- After you’ve taken your longer break, restart your count and work through 4 more timed pomodoros, with five minute break between each one. Then you can take another longer break.
Soon, I’ll take a look at productive things you can do during your breaks. Next, though, let’s find out why using a Pomodoro timer is a good idea.
Why is the Pomodoro technique a great productivity timer?
There are many reasons you might choose to use a Pomodoro timer. Here’re a few I’ve come up with.
Train yourself to focus
By using this technique, you can learn how to ignore distractions and focus on one task at a time. When you repeated the process enough times, you could even boost your attention span, making it easier for you to enter a state of flow and think critically. This could help you find the most creative solutions to problems.
Achieve your goals
One of the main reasons people like using this timer so much is that it actually helps people meet their goals because they are both realistic and can be achieved within the timeframe. There are many other techniques out there you can use but what sets this one apart is its practicality and simplicity.
Manage your expectations
A Pomodoro timer enables you to gauge the time it takes you to complete tasks more accurately. This means you are better able to tell what you can get done within a certain timeframe. You’re more likely to know beforehand whether a task will take 2 hours or half an hour, for example.
Good for your wellbeing
Anyone using the Pomodoro Method — whether for studying, home-based work, or for another purpose – is encouraged to take breaks, which could help stave off fatigue.
Understand the value of your time
The Pomodoro technique is a superb way to work out the amount of time you spend on a task so that you are better able to value the work you do. This is especially useful if you’re a freelancer like me and sometimes charge flat rates for your work.
Use it to hone your skills
As with any skill, to excel at something you need to practice and develop it. Using the Pomodoro Method can help you organise your time so that you can develop skills that matter to you.
Things you can do in your breaks
Now you know how the Pomodoro Method works, let’s see how you can make the most of the frequent breaks built into the routine.
1) Move around or stretch
Keeping active throughout the day is vital, even if it just means standing up every five minutes, walking around a bit, or (as in my case) doing stretches while sitting down. It can help boost your energy, reduce the risk of back pain, and is good for your long-term health. For more on how you can build stretches into your daily routine, take a look at my earlier post.
2) Grab some fresh air
If you can, go outside during a break for a breath of fresh air. The health benefits of fresh air are well documented and can even boost your immune system.
3) Have a drink of water
Making sure you stay hydrated is essential if you want to focus and is also the most important thing you can do for your health. One study conducted in 2013 indicated that drinking water can increase cognitive performance, according to Medical News Today.
4) Check your messages
You can use your five-minute breaks to check your emails and text messages and see if you’ve received anything important. Personally, I would still try to avoid social media because it can be easy to go down a rabbit hole, and can become hard to tear yourself away from the distraction and get back into your Pomodoro routine.
5) Do chores around the house
If you’re working from home, you can take the chance to do some quick jobs around the house, like washing up or hanging out the washing. This might give you an added motivational boost, as you’re using your break times to get stuff done too.
Dedicated Pomodoro time tracking apps
As you probably know, there are many time tracking apps you can use. But having a dedicated Pomodoro app can make it easier for you by alternating between your work and break periods without having to do anything. It saves you having to set up a manual timer or constantly check the clock. Here are 6 of the best Pomodoro timers on offer.
• Pomodor if you want to use a web-based Pomodoro timer.
• Forest, a mobile timer.
• Mariana timer if you want to share a web-based one.
• If you love using Apple, try Be Focused.
• KanbanFlow is good if you want to combine Kanban with Pomodoro.
• Use Toogl Track if you want to use Pomodoro alongside time tracking.
Using the Pomodoro Method encourages you to stay productive throughout the day by taking a practical approach. The goal that you have to shoot for strive for is realistic and achievable for almost anyone who gives it a whirl. And by able to stay focused and ignore distractions is an invaluable skill to have. Why wait? Try using one of the Pomodoro apps I’ve suggested now to give yourself a head start.