How to Beat Procrastination with the Pomodoro Technique
Focus and flow are two of the most important elements of workplace productivity. If you find yourself often struggling to stay on task at work, or that you tend to get easily distracted by things or people inside or outside of your home office, then this article is for you.
In today’s article, we’ll be exploring into how you can beat procrastination while working from home by simplifying your task and time management system. Without further ado, here’s EFFYDESK’s guide on how to use the Pomodoro Technique to help you stay focused while working from home.
What is the Pomodoro Technique?
To begin, what is the Pomodoro Technique? The Pomodoro Technique is a time management system which helps you stay focused by keeping your mind clear and concentrated by working in timed, task-based sprint sessions.
Traditionally speaking, the Pomodoro Technique refers to 25-minute work session intervals. However, many workers around the world will choose different time intervals that work best or most naturally with their environment, body and personal preferences. Some people prefer working the full, natural, 90-minute concentration block period before taking a break. We recommend starting with the 25-minute work intervals and logging your results to optimize your workflow as you work along.
Fun fact: Did you know that “Pomodoro” in Italian translates to “tomato” in English?
In the late 1980’s, a university student named Francesco Cirillo found it especially difficult to stay focused during his studies. To improve his time management from home, he invented this productivity method, which he named the Pomodoro Technique, after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer. Cirillo would later write a 130-page book on this technique, and millions of workers now swear by it as their choice of work time management strategy.
How can you implement this technique into your everyday work-from-home routine? We’ve simplified things into 5 easy steps on how you can implement Pomodoro practices into your work routine today.
How Does the Pomodoro Technique Work?
What are the steps to the Pomodoro technique? Here’s how the Pomodoro Technique works:
- Decide on the tasks to be done in pomodoros. (FYI: “pomodoro” = time-based interval work session)
- Set out your to-do’s in a task list, and set your pomodoro timer (alarm to ring after a 25-minute work session interval).
- Focus on a single task for 25 minutes. Once you’re done your task, check it off of your to-do list.
- Relax and take a quick 5-minute break.
- Once you’ve completed four pomodoros, take a longer break of 15-30 minutes.
Besides splitting your tasks into sprint sessions, which is the core strategy behind Cirillo’s technique, there are also three other practices you can try to create a more actionable plan for your work days.
These additional best practices can help you boost concentration and productivity right from your home office:
- Break down large tasks (e.g. if the task can’t be completed in four pomodoros) into smaller ones.
- Combine small tasks (e.g. tasks that take up less than one pomodoro) into one.
- Don’t dismiss your pomodoro alerts. If the session is up, it’s time to move on to the next. If you’re not ready to move onto the next task when your alarm rings, it may be a good idea to break up that single task into smaller ones.
Pro tip: If you ever find yourself with free time left after completing a task sprint, be sure to use that time to reflect on the task at hand. How do you feel after completing the task? How will you schedule future tasks like it? If you’ve got a few minutes left to spare, jot down all of these observations to help optimize your work routine and Pomodoro practices moving forward.
Who Should Use the Pomodoro Technique?
The Pomodoro Technique is an effective time management method for everyone to use in almost any work setting.
In a world constantly introducing new tools and technologies that can help us work more efficiently and productively, the Pomodoro Technique is simple and straightforward enough to be especially helpful for...
- Remote workers who struggle with staying focused on the task at hand.
- Home office users who may get distracted by family members, pets, noises outside or nearby the home.
- Busy business owners whose to-do lists never end.
At the end of the day, the philosophy behind the Pomodoro Technique is not to force yourself to work at 25-minute time blocks, per se; but to work in structured time periods on dedicated tasks, and to take breaks that will sufficiently rejuvenate you to your most productive state of mind.
Benefits of the Pomodoro Technique
There are five key benefits to the Pomodoro Technique:
- Reducing the impact of interruptions from internal and external distractions.
- Increase personal accountability in your home office where there’s little to no supervision.
- Scheduling tasks ahead of time on a realistic timeline (with checklists and notes to help structure your weekly and monthly tasks).
- Decrease back pain by reducing the time you spend sitting per work session.
- Boost morale and motivation to get tasks done as you check items off your to-do list.
When Should You Use the Pomodoro Technique?
The Pomodoro Technique is a perfect time management system to use at your sit-stand workstation. For standing desk users, you can take advantage of the Pomodoro Technique to integrate standing desk best practices into your daily routine.
Integrating both sitting and standing into your daily work routine is especially effective to keep your focus intact while working! Not only will your attention and focus sharpen up with structured time management, your neck, shoulders and back will also thank you for staying active while getting work done.
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