Work Smart Not Hard: Using the Pomodoro Technique to Maximize Productivity

Work Smart Not Hard: Using the Pomodoro Technique to Maximize Productivity

Be the most efficient and learn the most information with your time, using this simple trick..

The Pomodoro Technique is a famous method of productivity that you've likely heard of. It was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. Cirillo used this method during his college days and then began spreading the word about it.

How to Follow the Pomodoro Technique:

The traditional pomodoro technique consists of seven basic steps.

  • 1. Decide on a series of tasks that must be completed, ranked in order of decreasing priority.
  • 2. Set a timer for 25 minutes.
  • 3. Work on your first task for 25 minutes, uninterrupted.
  • 4. After the 25 minutes is up, take a 5 minute “short break,” with the assistance of a timer.
  • 5. Repeat steps 2-4 until your fourth break.
  • 6. Every fourth break (after four, 25 minute work cycles), take a 15 - 30 minute “long break.”
  • 7. Repeat steps 2-6 until all tasks are completed.
Work Smart Not Hard: Using the Pomodoro Technique to Maximize Productivity

Knowing when to stop the Pomodoro technique

The prescribed steps above work like a charm, however one must know when to pause. Exercising this technique over and over again for the entire day can be rather tiresome. Feel free to eat if you're feeling a bit slow. Even better, you can couple this technique with power naps. Taking short, 20 minute naps between intervals of learning has been shown to drastically help with memorization. If your task doesn't involve memorization, you can instead go for a workout or meditate - both of which also drastically help with productivity and academic performance (for those enrolled in school).

Why follow the Pomodoro technique?

The Pomodoro technique is a realistic approach to handling workload. In our perfect world, we often think we can work consistently, for several hours, maintaining the same level of efficiency. However, this is simply not the case. Several studies show that our ability to learn new information drops off significantly after 20 - 30 minutes.

Work Smart Not Hard: Using the Pomodoro Technique to Maximize Productivity

The Pomodoro technique takes humanity’s decreasing attention span into consideration and allows us to consistently work with a higher level of focus.

Modification to the Pomodoro technique

Feel feel free to experiment with the time intervals of work sessions and breaks, as well as what you do during breaks. This helps personalize the technique and make it work best for you. A common modification is changing the duration of work/break sessions, while keeping the ratio constant. For example, maybe you find that you can actually keep great focus for 50 minutes. You'd then decide to work for 50 minutes, take a 10 minute “short break,” and then a 30 or 60 minute “long break,” every fourth break. What's important is that the 5:1 ratio of work:short break is conserved. Some individuals also find that it is best if they leave their workspace during each break, and go walk around their house/building. Others find that the power nap or meditation break does a better job at rejuvenating them, to keep them sharp!

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Millennial Moderator Author

Mohamad Ahmad

I'm a 17-year old Canadian, going into university for biomedical engineering. I have an innate passion for math and science, of many things. All things interest me and there's nothing I cherish more than learning.