Egg timer…check! Twenty minutes to spare…check! Phone(s) on silent…check!
Ok, well that should have given you an insight into what this article is about. A big tick if you’ve worked out that it’s something to do with time management. Isn’t it always these days?
Many of us try to squeeze another hour into an already long 24 hours and wonder why it can sometimes feel like we never break the back off that long to-do list. Or why we feel overwhelmed by how much they here still is to do. We’re told about how we should multitask, then a piece of research comes out telling us that multitasking is actually bad for us. We’re told to get more sleep up night to improve our mental and physical wellbeing. Then we’re told to wake up earlier in the morning, but we barely got enough sleep last night. It’s mind frazzling just thinking about all the do’s and don’ts.
Then walks in yet another technique that will change our lives…or promises to make us manage our time better. It’s called the ‘Pomodoro’ technique. This is not like when Apple first released it’s phone that changed the way we use mobile phones for ever…it’s essentially a time management technique with a few tweaks. I’m using now, as I write this…I’ve got 10 minutes left (you’ll understand more about this in a few moments).
So, according to the Pomodoro technique, time is no longer the enemy. We’re not begrudging how little time we feel we have, as we are in control. That control comes from a timer. You set the time you want to spend on each task, set the timer, start working through your to-do list and ignore everything – that really does mean everything – until the timer goes off, or you have finished the task. If you don’t finish the task within the set timeframe, you can add more time if you want, but you will be in control.
Some people decide that the maximum they want to work on any given task is 20 minutes, for example. After 20 minutes, the timer will start another 20-minute cycle. But they take a five minute-break between 20-minute bursts so they can stretch, stretch – basically recharge before the next task starts.
You can use a timer like this Seafoam Magnetic Kitchen Timer (www.kikkerlandeu.com), or grab a cheapie one from eBay or Amazon. But I recommend that you don’t use the timer on your mobile phone – unless you are uber disciplined and can resist the temptation to start using your mobile phone when you start and switch off the timer. A timer that only does the timining will really help you set a time to work within your task.
If you can be disciplined with your mobile phone, try an app like 30/30. It lets you create a list of tasks and set time against it. When you start a task, once the time runs out, the app tells you to move on to the next task. Think of it as a bit similar to a personal trainer…for time management.
Does the Pomodoro technique work?
Yes – it really does. As someone who works from home most of the time, using the Pomodoro technique helps to bring the mundane to-do list to life. It’s like having a personal assistant who is on your case every half an hour, reminding you of what you need to next, and it really helps make the day’s work move a lot faster.