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Time Management- The Pomodoro Technique

I‘d heard about a time management system called the Pomodoro Technique, created by Francesco Cirilio. It seemed too simplistic, but as they say, the simplest things often work best. According to users, this time management system is simple to learn, and life-changing when applied correctly. The Pomodoro Technique can be broken down into the following four basic principles.

1. Work with time, not against it: Many of us live as if time is our enemy. We race the clock to finish assignments and meet deadlines. The technique teaches us to work with time, instead of struggling against it.

2. Eliminate burnout: Taking short, scheduled breaks while working eliminates the “running on fumes” feeling you get when you push yourself too hard. According to users, It’s impossible to overwork when you stick to the system.

3. Manage distractions: E-mails, phone calls, Facebook messages, or suddenly realizing you forgot to get the car inspected– distractions constantly bombard us. Short of a true emergency, these things can be attended to later. This technique helps you log your distractions, and prioritize them for later.

4. Create a better work/life balance: Most of us are intimately acquainted with the guilt that comes from procrastination. If we haven’t had a productive day, we can’t seem to enjoy our free time. When you create an effective timetable and achieve your high-priority tasks, you can truly enjoy your time off.

“All this is great,” you may think, “but what do I actually do?” • Choose a task • Set a timer for 25 minutes • Work on your task until the timer rings, then put a checkmark on a tracker • Take a five minute break (you just completed your first Pomodoro) • Repeat steps 1-4 three more times, followed by a 15-minute break.

That’s 25 minutes of steady, focused work on ONE task. No multitasking. No emails. No phone calls. No checking Facebook. Nothing! No distractions allowed!

Suggested tools from someone, not me, are: 1. A kitchen timer 2. Phone on Airplane mode 3. A quiet place to work and/or a good pair of headphones 4. Pen and paper for the Pomodoro check off marks 5. Five minutes each morning to plan out the day’s tasks 6. 30-minutes at the end of each week to review and plan for the next week

I’m definitely going to give this method a try and see how it works for me. My most productive times have been when I chunk activities and refrain from distractions. Multi-tasking is a myth, so a timer based approach, makes good sense.


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