The Pomodoro Method

The pomodoro method or pomodoro technique is a tried-and-true productivity system that has been around for decades. Its name, which means tomato in Italian, derives from the kitchen timers that looked like tomatoes. Many of us, of a certain age, remember them from childhood.

The pomodoro method is dead simple and helps focus on a task at hand. You can customize it to suit your style, but the principle is the same. Pick a time and set your phone’s timer to that. Twenty-five minutes seems to be the standard but you could do 20 minutes or more than 25. I work best with 30 minutes. Then pick one thing you need to get done and work on that, and only that, for the time frame. Don’t check emails and don’t answer your phone. When the time is up you can take a short five-minute break to stretch, walk around, make a cup of tea or use the bathroom. You can also check your emails and voicemails, but don’t spend too long on it. Then pick another task, or continue with the same one, and set the timer again. Repeat for three or four times and then take a longer break of say, half an hour. On this longer break you can check personal emails, make personal phone calls or do what you like.

The pomodoro method is wonderful when you feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. This way you only have to focus on one task. Customize it to work for you but you will find your productivity increases. Well, there’s my timer going, so I’m signing off, going to go refill my water, look out the window at the snow and then pick another task to work on.

Francine Dick, CFP, RIS, EPC