In a MOOC on Coursera, interestingly titled “Learning How to Learn”, I was introduced to the Pomodoro technique to counter procrastination and enhance productivity. The word ‘Pomodoro’ in Italian means Tomato – named after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer that it’s developer, Francesco Cirillo used.
Pomodoro is an extremely simple technique where you just get started with a task and fully concentrate on the same for 25 minutes. Why 25 minutes? No one can answer that. Possibly because it’s long enough to contribute to the task at hand but short enough to not look too daunting. If you have a task that you have been putting off (for me, it is normally doing presentations!), just set yourself a 25-minute timer and get going. Don’t worry too much about where you will start as far as the task is concerned but just start doing it – if it’s a presentation, start with writing your thoughts, explore presentation templates you may want to use, then make a slide or two, even if one of them is a ‘Contents’ slide but just get going!
For these 25 minutes, make sure to stay away from your phone, emails, coffee breaks and any other ‘procrastination friendly errands’. Set everything on silent mode and fully concentrate on the job at hand. Believe me, you will surprise yourself on how effectively this works. Also, remember to take that well-deserved 5 minute break after 25 minutes, before you set yourself up for another Pomodoro.
Try it and I promise that you will make it a part of your routine and your calendar will be peppered with Pomodoros!