I went to visit a friend yesterday and while we were talking about working from home, she mentioned the Pomodoro Technique.

Now I always thought a pomodoro was a tomato, and in fact it is the Italian word for tomato, and I love tomatoes!

But I have now discovered it is also a specific technique for managing your time and ensuring you stick to the tasks in hand.

For many people, time is an enemy. The anxiety triggered by “the ticking clock”, in particular when a deadline is involved, leads to ineffective work and study behaviour which in turn elicits the tendency to procrastinate.

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The Pomodoro Technique was created with the aim of using time as a valuable ally to accomplish what we want to do the way we want to do it, and to empower us to continually improve our work or study processes.

It is called Pomodoro because its Italian creator used a tomato shaped timer.

To implement the Pomodoro Technique

all you need is:

– a timer or Pomodoro, that you can hear ticking

– a To Do Today list in order of priority

– a Records sheet if you want some idea of the number of pomodoros it takes to complete certain tasks

A pomodoro is 30 minutes long and and consists of 25 minutes work and a 5 minute break.

So you set the timer for 25 minutes, start on the first item on your list and work solidly till the timer goes off, when you stop immediately for about 5 minutes.

During this break you must disconnect from the work completely and this means no checking of emails, Facebook etc! Walk around, stretch, make a drink.

Then set the timer for another 25 minutes and carry on with the task or start a new one if the first one is complete.

Dealing with emails, phone calls, social media etc. should all be allocated their own pomodoro.

After pomodoro number 4 you take a longer break of say 15 to 30 minutes.

This break is the ideal opportunity to tidy up your desk, take a short walk, listen to voice mail, check incoming emails, or simply rest and do breathing exercises.

The important thing is not to do anything complex, otherwise your mind won’t be able to reorganize and integrate what you’ve learned, and as a result you won’t be able to give the next Pomodoro your best effort.

Obviously, during this break too you need to stop thinking about what you did during the last Pomodoro.

Hear from Greg Head in this video how he makes use of the Pomodoro Technique.

And you can click here to download the full ThePomodoroTechnique_v1-3.

Do you think this technique would work for you and help you to improve your time management?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below.