What is the Pomodoro Technique?

Ready to get more done? With the Pomodoro technique you will bust distractions and stay focused for a certain amount of time.

Many of us strive to be more productive, just to get more done in a day. Demands at the work place are ever increasing, and we work harder and longer hours. What if we instead could just work smarter?

I have discovered that one of the reasons for me being unproductive (or just less productive than I could be) are constant distractions. There are emails, direct messages constantly arriving at my door step. If I were to sit in an office building with other people these would also be knocking at my door in addition to that.

Due to the amount of distractions we got used to over the last years our attention span is rapidly declining. I recently heard that most tv-shows give you a commercial break every 7 minutes, as that is the amount of attention we can easily hold. After 7 minutes our brains have a tendency to move on to something else – oh hello, distraction!

The nasty thing about distractions is not only that they get you out of your flow. Did you know that it takes an average of 25 (!) minutes to get back into the task you were doing when you got distracted? This is a crazy high amount, and could easily give you another work day if you were to eliminate or reduce the amount of distractions.

One of the tools to increase your attention span and get you to do more on any given day is the Pomodoro technique.

How does it work?

The Pomodoro technique is very simple – start with making a list of the tasks you need or want to accomplish. Then take a timer (preferably a tomato-shaped kitchen timer – no, not really) and set it to 25 minutes. Work diligently and without interruption on your task at hand. When the timer goes off, take a 5 minute break. Then repeat; either for this task or move on to another one.

Brendon Buchard has amped this up and recommends 50 minutes work time, followed by 10 minutes breaks. And he talks about active breaks, where you do a few squats or jumping jacks or a quick walk around the office building, before you make sure to fill up on water and then repeat.

Steven Kotler, one of the advocates of flow state, recommends 90-120 minutes uninterrupted work on your most important task of the day. This amount will make it possible to actually get you into flow state – the state where you miss all perception of time and get completely immersed in what you are doing.

Whatever method you choose, it will give you and your productivity a boost. And if you find 25 minutes too long, especially for tasks you are dreading, then choose a shorter period of time. Remember, you can do and endure anything for 15 minutes. Just put on your timer and go!

Treat your projects like this every day, and within a week or two you will have made significant progress. And this will fuel yor productivity even more. When we get things done, it releases endorphins and dopamine, and this is the stuff we want more of.