Time for Time Management with the Pomodoro Technique!

March 18, 2024 by Natalie Brewer
Time for Time Management with the Pomodoro Technique!

Not enough hours in the day to achieve what you need to do?  Then maybe a tomato will help! 

No, we’ve not gone crazy – pomodoro means tomato in Italian and the Pomodoro Technique is an amazing way to help manage your time. 

How the Pomodoro Technique got its name

The Pomodoro Technique was developed in the late 1980s by a university student, Francesco Cirillo. Cirillo was struggling to focus on his studies and feeling overwhelmed, he committed himself to just 10 minutes of focused study time. Encouraged by the challenge, he found a tomato-shaped kitchen timer, and the Pomodoro Technique was born.

How the Pomodoro Technique works

Ticking things off your to-do list is a great feeling but sometimes the list can feel overwhelming especially when your time is limited. Using a time management technique is a great way to get started, overcome the distractions that can derail your good intentions, or help you work within strict time parameters so you carve out time for other things – including relaxation.

The Pomodoro Technique – a time management tool – is actually very simple.

  1. Get a to-do list and a timer.
  2. Set your timer for 25 minutes, and focus on a single task until the timer rings.
  3. When your session ends, mark off one pomodoro and record what you completed.
  4. Enjoy a five-minute break.
  5. After four pomodoros, take a longer restorative 15-30 minute break.

Using a timer helps ensure that you stay on track and don’t overwork. Use an old-fashioned kitchen timer, or the timer or an app on your phone or computer. 

Plan out your tasks for the day and estimate how many ‘pomodoros’ you need to complete each task. Split complex tasks into smaller tasks so that you can easily divide them into pomodoro intervals.

Use your breaks to make a cuppa, stretch your limbs, or meditate – anything that helps you to feel refreshed so that you’re ready to get back to work.

If the 25-minute pomodoro intervals or 5-minute breaks don’t work for you, adjust the timings to what does suit you. The idea is to set out chunks of time to focus on work then take breaks in between to relax.

The Pomodoro Technique helps prevent procrastination as it focuses the mind and makes you accountable to yourself.  This framework can also help alleviate the stress associated with feeling that you have ‘too much to do’. Of course, it does not work for everyone so give it a go and see how you get on.

Top Tips for using the Pomodoro Technique from the Hour Hands team

  1. Think of time as tomatoes rather than as hours!
  2. Break down complex projects. If a task requires more than four pomodoros, it needs to be divided into smaller, actionable steps. 
  3. Small tasks go together. Any tasks that will take less than one Pomodoro should be combined with other simple tasks. For example, “pay invoice”, “schedule meeting with Hour Hands”, and “read Hour Hands’ latest blog” could go together in one session.
  4. Once a pomodoro is set, it must ring. The pomodoro is an indivisible unit of time and can not be broken, especially not to check incoming emails, team chats, or text messages. Any ideas, tasks, or requests that come up should be listed – return to these later.
  5. In the event of an unavoidable disruption, take your five-minute break and start again. Track interruptions and come up with a plan to avoid them in your next session.
  6. Finish your task early?  Have a ‘backup’ task ready and waiting such as read that blog that you’ve bookmarked etc.
  7. Use your 5 minute break to celebrate the completion of a task – have a cup of tea or coffee, stand up and stretch, complete wordle : whatever works for you!

How the flexible Hour Hands team flexes to support you and your business too

Hour Hands is made up of experienced EAs, personal assistants and bookkeepers who are waiting and willing to support you with those urgent and important tasks that you just don’t have the time to complete even when you use the Pomodoro Technique or other time management tool. From booking travel, to managing your diary and managing your accounts and tax returns – we can help you complete tasks and shift them off your matrix (or to-do list!). We flex our offer to suit your needs be it a one off project or resolving a particular task, or even delivering long term support. 

To find out more simply call us on 01727 818262. We will ask how we can support you and offer a solution either on an hourly rate or package cost. The choice is yours – we simply want to help.