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Time Management: The Pomodoro Technique

Posted By Danielle M. Hall, Tuesday, July 17, 2018

By Danielle Hall, Kansas Bar Association 

If you find yourself struggling with time management issues, such as failing to stay on task, ineffective scheduling, or procrastination, you may want to consider implementing a time management technique. One such technique is the Pomodoro method. This time management method was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s and is named after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer which was used by Cirillo as a university student. (Pomodoro is Italian for tomato.)

The idea behind the technique is simple: you set a timer for 25 minutes and work on only one thing for the duration of that time. When the timer rings, you reward yourself with a short break. This technique forces you to focus on that one task for a set period, while taking breaks to avoid mental fatigue. For instance, rather than working on a brief until it is "done,” you work on it until your 25 minutes is up. Then, you get up and stretch (or whatever else you like do to on a break) for 5 minutes.  Once your break is over, you go back to working on the brief for another 25 minutes, and so on, until you complete 4 pomodoros (25-minute segments). After completing 4 pomodoros, you take a longer 20-30 break.

The goal should be to work towards task completion to meet your daily goals.  As a result, you first will need to create a prioritized task list to determine what your work day will include. Using the task list and implementing the Pomodoro Technique should help you to avoid interruptions and distractions while improving your concentration. The more you can concentrate, the more work you should be able to complete. The key, however, is to not fall victim to checking your email, looking at social media, or chitchatting during the pomodoro.

If you want to try implementing this simple time management technique, here is quick recap:

  • Pick a task.
  • Set a time to 25 minutes.
  • Focus on that task for the entire 25 minutes. 
  • When the 25 minutes is up, take a short 3-5 min break.
  • After 4 pomodoros, take a longer 20-30 min break. 

A kitchen timer will definitely do the trick, but if you are looking for something more hi-tech to use, there are plenty of Pomodoro Technique apps out there for both Apple and Android devices. There are also Chrome apps available to use with your Chrome web browser, some of which allow you to block websites during use.

To read more about the Pomodoro Technique visit https://francescocirillo.com/pages/pomodoro-technique.

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