Work Smarter Not Harder Using The Pomodoro Technique

During our blended learning “recap” celebration this week, I listened carefully as teachers mentioned how frontloading their work improved in-class time with students. Since time remains one of our most coveted, yet sometimes elusive, assets finding a way to maximize it feels like a cause worth pursuing. Let’s get into the Pomodoro Technique and how you can get started using it today!

What is the Pomodoro Technique?

The Pomodoro Technique®, developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s, is a time management technique built on bursts or intervals interrupted by short breaks designed to keep your mind fresh and clear. When the technique was developed, a kitchen timer was the tool of choice, and for Francesco, it was in the form of a tomato, but today you can use your phone if you have the discipline to leave it alone.

Steps for using the Pomodoro Technique®:

  1. Before getting started, list the work that needs to be accomplished. It helps to document it digitally or using 19th Century pen and paper.
  2. Set your timer for 25 minutes.
  3. Stay completely focused on your work, don’t look at email, social media, answer phone calls, or anything else. Keep a sharp focus on the task at hand.
  4. When the timer rings, walk away and do something else for 5 minutes.
  5. After 5 minutes, come back and work for 25 more minutes.
  6. Take a break for 5 minutes. Take a walk or use other strategies to improve creativity.
  7. Every 4th Pomodoro take a longer break.
  8. Repeat until the task is completed or you have used your allocated time for the day.

Pomodoro Technique Graphic

In listening to podcasts and reading books about innovation, the Pomodoro Technique invariably gets mentioned. Today, there are more distractions than ever, and it impedes our productivity. If we use this technique and teach students how to use it, we will get more accomplished and have more time to do other things! It sounds simple but overcoming the urge to look at the phone when a text comes in, or glancing at your email is harder than you think.  If you give in to the urge, you are off-task, and it can take you in a new direction, leaving your task unfinished. I’m still working on refining this technique, but so far, I love it!

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Pomodoro Graphic – Print Version

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