5 Steps to Implementing the Pomodoro Method

The Pomodoro Method was developed by Francisco Cirillo as a way for those who struggle with time management, procrastination or perfectionism to get through their priority lists efficiently. The name? He used a tomato-shaped timer.

According to Michelle from virtual assistants Virtual Hand “The concept is relatively simple and can certainly be implemented with very little preparation.” For everyday use, it’s a method that doesn’t seem to require a deep dive into mindset changes, multiple purchases, dedication ceremonies…etc.

For those unfamiliar with the steps involved, here they are:

  1. Make a list of tasks in order of priority, rather than size.

2.Establish a space where you can focus, with minimum distractions

  1. Pick a task and set a 25-minute timer. Begin working on that one task.

Tick it off and begin the next if still within the 25 minutes.

4.When your timer rings, take a 5-minute break.

  1. After 4 repetitions of this, take a longer 15-30 minute restorative break.

As mentioned – simple!

The idea is that by having concentrated time on a particular task, your mind is more committed to the details, you get through it faster, and you subconsciously know there is an end in sight!

By setting your task list in order of priority, rather than size, the 25-minute time limit allows you to ‘break the camel’s back’ in terms of assignments you have been putting off or that seem overwhelming. Even if you decide not to continue them after the first ‘pomodoro’, you have begun the task and it is closer to completion.

Obviously, not all tasks take 25 minutes to complete. These smaller, or easier, tasks, get pushed aside and often become the ones that haunt us later on – such as setting an appointment with the dentist or ordering the shopping! For these, the method suggests combining them in your ‘to-do’ list.

There are some points to consider though, especially for those running a business, rather than working on assigned tasks or studying for a qualification.

  • Available time and number of tasks

Respected time-management specialists suggest only giving yourself three tasks to complete in a day. The workaholics amongst us will balk at this, but it has been proven to be the most effective way to prioritise and progress through important workloads. It also makes it vital to know your strengths and outsource tasks that do not require your input to enhance your business.

  • Surroundings and distractions

Choose a place to work where you feel comfortable enough to devote your attention to the task at hand whilst as free as possible from things that distract you. This will be different for everyone!

  • Genuine interruptions

‘Genuine’ interruptions, in my mind, are those that can’t be put off. By following the steps above, you have already carved out a minimum of an hour and a half for the 3 major tasks you have prioritised. Even by doubling this time and incorporating breaks, you have 4 hours of committed work time and will have probably completed a considerable ‘chunk’ of what you have to do. This allows for time to ‘be interrupted’ by life and family and avoid the frustration that comes from feeling like you’re not accomplishing anything.

For a business owner, limiting yourself to 3 tasks a day and timed exercises/tasks will mean you definitely make progress, but there will be a multitude of ‘niggly jobs’ that don’t fall into priority lists but play at the back of your mind. This would be the perfect opportunity to invest your skills and passion into what you love and outsource the less glamourous tasks to a VA 😉.

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