How a tomato can help you be more productive
Written by Professional Academy Management & Leadership Tutor, Kathryn Knights
Do you like tomatoes? Do you want to be more productive? If you answered ‘yes’ to at least one of those questions then carry on reading. I posted a blog recently with my top five time management tips and ‘take a break’ was one of them. More specifically I suggested using the Pomodoro Technique to structure your breaks. I’m a big fan of the Pomodoro Technique so I’m dedicating this entire blog to it – you’ll be surprised how productive a tomato can make you.
What is it?
The Pomodoro Technique is a simple way of structuring your breaks and improving productivity. It aims to provide maximum focus and creative freshness. Allowing you to complete tasks faster and with less mental fatigue. It was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. Pomodoro means ‘tomato’ in Italian and Cirillo named the technique after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer that he used when he was a university student.
How does it work?
- Set your timer for 25 minutes
- Work on your task until the timer stops – mark a cross on a sheet of paper
- Take a five minute break
- Start a new Pomodoro
- After you have completed four Pomodoros (four crosses on your sheet) take a 15-20 minute break
- Start the process again
How can it help you
1) Freshness - at first, it might seem counter-intuitive to take so many breaks throughout the day, but those breaks keep your brain fresh and enable you to be consistently productive.
2) Focus - having a 25-minute deadline keeps you focused and more likely to avoid distractions.
3) Health - research by Swedish sports scientist Dr Elin Ekblom-Bak shows that, while exercise is vital for good health, only regular breaks from your desk can reduce these health risks.
4) Achievement – chipping away at your to-do list is satisfying and keeps your motivation levels high.
5) Self awareness – logging time against a task gives you an honest record of how long each one takes. It’ll make you better equipped to allocate time in the future and you might be surprised just how long you spend on tasks that don’t add value to your day.
Habits take about a month to become automatic so stick with the Pomodoro Technique for at least three to four weeks before deciding if it’s right for you. And don’t beat yourself up if you don’t manage to use the Technique all day long. I started by using it during the morning at first and then gradually introduced it into the rest of my day.
It’s important to be flexible too. Don’t worry if your Pomodoro turns into 26 minutes because you want to finish writing a paragraph. Simply getting into the habit of working in small chunks of time will drastically improve your productivity and sense of achievement each day.
And before you ask, yes, I did write this blog by using the Pomodoro Technique!
If you need further advice you can contact me via LinkedIn.
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