OK, here goes. I’m going to use the time management Pomodoro Technique to research, write, edit and upload this Weekly Surgery blog. Will it make me focussed and productive? I’ll see you on the other side…
(1hr and 20 minutes later)
Francesco Cirillo invented this world-renowned method when he was a university student looking for ways to save time.
But it wasn’t just about saving time.
He wanted to improve his productivity and efficiency.
He wanted to get better results with less time and less effort.
I’m thinking what’s not to like here?
So, I’m putting Cirillo’s method to the test by using it to write this blog about, you’ve guessed it, the Pomodoro technique.
Firstly, here’s how it works?
1. Choose a task requiring your full attention and that maybe you’ve been putting off for a while (we all do this!)
2. Set a Timer or Pomodoro for 25 minutes
3. Get to your task, uninterrupted, until the alarm goes off. If something pops into your head, write it down but then get straight back to it
4. When the alarm goes off – put a tick next to where you got to and be pleased with yourself
5. Take a mini break – say five minutes – walk around, grab a cuppa, make a quick phone call then settle back down.
6. Every fourth time take a longer break. 20 or 30 minutes will give your brain a rest and opportunity to recharge.
Did the Pomodoro Technique work?
In full confession, as I wrote this the latest Brexit fallout was happening so I kept my phone on for alerts and was popping down ‘tweet latest resignation’, which I did in my break, as well as making a cup of tea of course #compulsory.It felt quite an unnatural way for me to work. It was oddly physically uncomfortable for the first 25 minutes. I felt like I was being held down in my chair or at least being told to.
The 25 minutes felt like a week and the five-minute mini-break like five seconds. I had to force myself back behind my desk and told myself I wasn’t allowed to look at anything else.
But, these restrictions did keep me working on this blog. Weekly Surgery blogs go out every Tuesday, consistency is important to me and I needed to get it finished.
Amazingly I resisted the urge to look at my email account and instagram notifications until I pressed the publish button.
Would I use this time management technique again?
Yes. With practice I think the strange physical sensations and feeling of being told what to do by a clock would diminish. I didn't get to the longer break but I can see how you would need one after doing four 25 minute sessions on the same thing.
Who could benefit from using the Pomodoro Technique?
Anyone trying to:
• Complete a task on a deadline
• Tackle feelings of stress and overwhelm (link)
• Pull together an outline for an essay, dissertation or exam question
• Do a task they don’t really like – Hi there procrastination!
• Write a comprehensive list
• Work through their thoughts and different arguments on a topic
• Really grasp a topic they’ve been struggling with
• Detach themselves from their phone…
I’d love to know how this technique worked for you.
P.S If like me you didn’t know what a Pomodoro was – it’s a timer that looks like a tomato!