The Pomodoro Technique is the best productivity system that I have ever came across and this article is going to be about the pros and cons of the pomodoro technique.
Since I started working with the pomodoro technique (many years ago), my productivity level has drastically increased. I was a college student when I first read online about this technique and my grades improves as soon as I started using the technique. In the next section I am going to explain what is the pomodoro technique and then I am going to jump into the pros and cons of the pomodoro technique.
In case, you know what the Pomodoro Technique is jump directly to the pros and cons section.
What is the Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management system which involves working for 25 minutes and then tacking a 5-minute break. It is great method to overcome procrastination as 25 minutes is a shorter time to focus on something. It is based on the idea of focused work and rest as a way to improve productivity. You can read more about the Pomodoro Technique here.
According to this method, after you do 4 pomodoros (focused work for 25 minutes) you have to take a 15 minute to half an hour break. The 25 minutes of focused work is called a pomodoro.
The Pomodoro Technique was named after the kitchen times (in the shape of a tomato: pomodoro in Italian) which the creator of this method the Italian Francesco Cirilio was using. Franscesco invented this method when he was a university student. He basically told himself that he is going to focus on studying just for 25 minutes. It worked for him, he beat procrastination.
And this method has worked for millions of people online, as there is a lot of popularity about this method online.
Some people use the pomodoro technique with a timer, the timer will ring after 25 minutes of focused work, when you need to take a break and when the break is finished so you can start working again.
The Pros of Pomodoro Technique
1. It forces you to focus on one task at a time
2. It helps you measure the time it takes to complete a task, for example it usually takes me 4 pomodoros (2 hours) two write an article for my website
3. It avoids distractions, which can be dealt during the breaks or scheduled for a later pomodoro
4. The 25 minutes period of focus seems like the perfect amount of time for focus. There are variations to the pomodoro technique like working for 45 or 50 minutes instead, but the classical one is 25 minutes.
5. It avoids over-spending time on a task. If I work without a time box, I tend to over-work on a task. When I am forced to take a break by the pomodoro technique I will start a new task for the new pomodoro.
6. The break after 4 pomodoros is a great idea too. It’s not good for productivity to work straight, without a longer, break for more than two hours. Even with the five-minute breaks after each pomodoro, a longer break is needed.
7. One of the biggest advantages of the pomodoro technique is that it avoids burnout. If you work for 25 minutes and then do a good relaxation like meditation or just close your eyes for 5 minutes you won’t get tired even if you do 16 pomodoros (8 hours of work) a day. Accompanied with the 15-30 minutes break after four pomodoros this method avoids burnout.
6. It helps you break large tasks into smaller more manageable tasks. You can divide a largo tasks into periods of focused work consisting of 25 minutes.
The Cons of Pomodoro Technique
1. If one pomodoro is interrupted, let’s say after 10 minutes of working you have to start a new pomodoro. That’s why I use fixed pomodoros instead. I plan specific hours when I am going to do a pomodoro, for example 8.30-9.55 am and I stick to them. If I’m interrupted, I try to avoid the interruption or plan for it next time, when interruptions are predictable.
2. Some people don’t like the fact that you have to interrupt working when the timer rings because they are really focused on the work they are doing. But I like this aspect instead. I know that if I work for too long on a task, even one which I am passionate about, it will lead to burn out. I personally prefer to take a break exactly after 25 minutes of focused work.
3. Some people feel like the 5-minute break is not enough. Again, this method maybe is not for everyone. But in my opinion it can increase the productivity for everyone regardless of how they feel about. For me, it sets on fire my productivity.
4. Distractions at work are difficult to avoid. Especially in an office with other people, they will ask you something or just talk to each other which will be a distraction.
5. Some tasks are too short to complete in 25 minutes. In this case, you have to group these small task into one pomodoro.
Why the Pomododo Technique works
The pomodoro technique works because it forces people to work within the time they have rather then against time. It is the most realistic way to complete a great deal amount of work while avoiding burnout. The timer instills a sense of urgency which helps to make you focus on the now.
How I use the Pomodoro Technique
I use the Pomodoro Technique in a particular way which is different from the classical Pomodoro Technique.
1. Like I mentioned earlier, I plan my pomodoros to specific times, for example, I plan to do a task at 8.30-8.55. I plan all my pomodoros for the day, so also the brakes are fixed to specific times.
2. I divide time into smaller chugs than a pomodoro. I divide a pomodoro into 10 parts consisting each of 2-3 minutes. This forces me to stay focused on the moment, as 2-3 periods of time are very small periods.
3. I do 16 work related pomodoros in a day, which are 8 hours of work.
4. I do the hardest and most important pomodoros in the morning. My last pomodoros are just some task which are easier to do and don’t require a lot of mental energy to complete.
5. I categorize tasks into four categories:
- tasks which have to be performed daily
- tasks which have to be performed weekly
- tasks which have to be performed monthly
- tasks which have to be performed yearly
So I create routines with my pomodoros, there are some tasks which I do in a routine basis every day. In the same way, each week has a theme, so there are some tasks which I do every week in a routine basis.
And the same goes for the months and years. I like to build systems around my pomodoros.
6. When I perform a new task for the first time, I measure how many pomodoros it takes.
7. I do a break before a pomodoro. The pomodoro technique is about tacking a break after 25 minutes of work. In fact, I consider this in reverse. I first prepare for a task, then I start doing it. Doing a task requires mental and physical preparation. I do a 30 minutes preparation for a two-hour session of 4 pomodoros. During this time I might read some motivational material, plan the task in more detail and get the necessary tools for completing the task. I eat or drink caffe during this time to make sure that I’m going to be in my best shape for the task.
The pomodoro technique combines with the twists that I have added to it over time seems to be the most efficient way to complete tasks for me.