Making time, out of tomatos

10th November, 2009

3 min read

A few weeks ago, I had a workshop on Personal Development with @DanielSaNogueir / We Create, and found the need to manage time in a more effective way, in order to reach my goals (amongst a lot of other new and awesome things I’ve learned there — but that’s a whole new post that will get it’s 15-minutes-of-fame some other day in this blog).

Now fast-forwarding to last week.

Last week, reading my Twitter’s timeline, found a tweet of @Quodis, on welcoming their newest team member: @Leihla. Being a follower of Quodis‘ work and having some free time on my hands, I went to check on Leihla’s Twitter account to find out more about her. Suddenly, a simple hashtag got my full attention: #time on the following tweet “Tried the pomodoro technique and saw some improvements on my time management“.

* Ding! Ding! *

I had to find more on this “pomodoro technique”. And so I did: The Pomodoro Technique, the official website on the subject.

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method, created in 1992 by Francesco Cirillo as a way to improve his own study habits. Since then it has been taught and practiced by professional individuals and teams all over the world.

The name Pomodoro, means tomato in italian, and it was adopted due to using a kitchen timer (tomato-shaped) to keep track of the time.

The success of this technique relies on a few simple rules:
– work with your focus on a single task for 25 minutes (a Pomodoro unit — an indivisible time measurement unit);
– then take a 5-minute break;
– repeat the last two steps, until the task is finished and the active Pomodoro ended;
– every 4 Pomodoros take a longer break, like 30 minutes.

These are the basic rules, but there’s a lot more to add to it. For a deeper study, I recommend reading the Book (in PDF or printed version) available on the official site.

Right from the first day I started using this technique, results came up. Not only I enhanced my productivity, but also found a lot of interruptions I didn’t noticed they existed before (as interruptions / momentum breakers).

In fact, this system enables a lot more then just improving productivity, it increases awareness of decisions and determination to reach objectives, building motivation that will fuel more productivity.

In resume, it’s a methodology so simple, one can learn it in… well… a Pomodoro. (I had to pull this one off!)

As a final note, the set of tools I use to implement the Pomodoro Technique:
Pomodoro Desktop, a free Mac status bar application to track time;
The Hit List, a beta (free by now) release of a Mac application for task management.

An alternative desktop timer, platform-independent (AIR-based), is Focus Booster.

So… feeling the need to take control of your productivity time?

Photo by Jacki-dee.