What do tomatoes have to do with productivity?

Ever get so overwhelmed with your tasks that you end up getting close to nothing done or can’t quite be as productive as you’d like? Getting work done can be hard, especially when you have a million things pulling you in different directions. Whether you are self-employed, have a full-time family life, or are trying to start a side hustle to replace your nine to five, the Pomodoro Technique can drastically boost your productivity to new levels.

What Is It?

The Pomodoro Technique is a system designed to help productivity increase, and stress levels decrease by regimenting blocks of your time. Pomodoro comes from the Italian word for tomato, which is the shape of the original stopwatch used for this productivity system. When you have a lot on your plate, breaking your work into timed blocks trains your brain to focus on the task at hand and will help you consistently hit deadlines. Not only does working in regimented bursts like this lead you to be more consistent in your work, but it also improves your creativity, and even your memory and attention span.

How To Get Started

The first thing you need is a timer. You can use whatever you have available. You can also download the Pomodoro app, which has several timers to choose from. Set the timer for twenty five minutes. During these twenty five minutes, focus on one task and getting as much work done as you can on it without any distractions. When your time is up, take a five-minute break. Go for a walk, do simple stretches, get something to eat - it doesn’t matter, as long as you are moving around and resetting yourself for the next twenty five minute block. I like to use these moments to catch up with a friend, go out for a walk, or if I am home, practicing guitar. After three or four cycles take a longer thirty-minute break and do whatever will increase your energy levels for the next block of time. Eventually, you will master your Pomodoro Technique. Put the energy into discovering what works best for you.

Distractions are constantly swirling around us so if a coworker, family member or important phone call interrupts your twenty five minute session, should you just give up? Of course not! Just pause your timer and resume when you can refocus your energy on work. It’s human nature to get distracted - don’t be discouraged by it.

You can also (but don’t have to) pair your Pomodoro Technique with other forms of organization to help boost your productivity levels.

Who It Works Best For

This method works best for those who have to find a way to make something simple and turn it into a creative piece. The reason it works best for this group of people is that short, five-minute breaks, while seemingly too short to accomplish anything, allow the brain to rewire itself, and allows you to have a different perspective when you come back to work.

You may be thinking “But I don’t have a creative job so this isn’t for me.” And that just simply isn’t true. Anyone can use this method! The Pomodoro Technique allows you to be productive without feeling the heaviness of your workload.

This method is not a “one way only” program - you can alter it to your liking. Need to take a little longer break or can’t quite work for twenty-five minutes straight yet? That’s perfectly acceptable! The goal isn’t to make you suffer or hate the work. It's to facilitate your focus, and help you wisely use your time so you can get through the things you have to do - thus freeing your time and your mind so you can do the things you want to do!

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