The Pomodoro Technique

Why I love the Pomodoro technique and you should too.

A new website is always about compelling content. As SEO and content gurus say – the content is the king. However, there is a small snag. You always start with a blank piece of paper. You have a great idea, but you have to turn it into a huge and engaging story.

Translating ideas into stories is difficult. You can always choose to procrastinate because the Internet is full of fun. Well, that is the reason I love the Pomodoro technique. It helps me stay focused, and not to be distracted by other fun stuff.

Today, it is so easy to be distracted. It is so difficult to concentrate on one task we need to accomplish. Smartphones, applications, and computers are always sending notifications to grab our attention. Computers are powerful, and they can multitask. Sadly, our brains are not multitasking. They love to focus, and we lose our ability to stay focused.

The Pomodoro Technique: Process
The Pomodoro Technique: Process

There are tons of books about motivation, personal productivity, time planning and getting things done (GTD). There are many seminars and tutorials on how to become a successful person. They usually present a complex solution to a simple problem. You have to stay focused and keep doing things that will bring you most.

You can install many GTD tools, and you will find out that using the tool consumes your most productive time. You do not work; you plan how you should work. It can be endless, and the inbox in the app can grow long. You will still feel that you are failing, but you will have a detailed plan. The Pomodoro technique is different because it does not make you plan every detail. It just asks you to stay focused.

You do not need to spend time prioritizing, because you usually know which mission will make you a successful person. You know what needs to be done during the day to keep your friends, colleagues, and family happy. Usually, you also know when you have to do it and in which order. The only problem is that you have to concentrate on solving one problem after another.

What is the Pomodoro technique?

It is one of the most straightforward time management techniques you can find. Its simplicity is what it makes it so sturdy and attractive. You do not have to read a book before you can start benefiting from the technique. You do not need to spend hours planning your activities. Productivity and being concentrated on the task are the key imperatives of the approach.

The methodology does not require you to estimate how long it takes to finish one task. You work, and you stay focused for at least 25 minutes. It is a single idea – every minute of your focus counts.

You learn a few basic principles, and you can start gaining control over your time and assignments again. The significant advantage of the technique is that you need just a paper and pen. You do not have to spend a single penny.

This technique uses a timer (usually a simple computer application) to break down the work and assignments into manageable intervals. They typically take about 25 minutes, but you can shorten them in the beginning. Prolonging intervals is not recommended. Each interval is followed by a short break of five minutes to allow you to relax and do the other stuff.

However, it is highly recommended to get up and stretch your body. It makes the blood flow and your brain refreshes. A fresh body is the best support for bringing new ideas.

After several Pomodoro intervals, you should take a more extended break, usually about 30 minutes to refresh your mind and boost creativity.

That is the whole principle of the technique. You do not have to decide if the task is essential, critical, urgent and which inbox is the right. You keep focusing on doing your staff, and you do not allow anyone and anything to distract you. There are moments for distraction during short and long breaks.

How does it help me?

Writing is difficult. You stare at the blank page in Atom (the word processor I use among other tools), and you see the cursor blinking. You look at no words, and you have to elaborate the creative piece of work. You know you have a great idea, but now you want to turn it into a story. That makes writing so difficult.

Dreaming about the story is nice; writing the story requires a focus. Also, it is so painful to put the structure in place, thinking about linking ideas and arguments and finding the right words. At that moment, you can switch your priorities, because you think that checking new Facebook statuses can help to boost creativity.

That is how a failure begins. You stop focusing on what is critical to your success, and you start focusing on what can entertain you. The Pomodoro technique helps me a lot to gain my focus back. I know that I allocated this time interval to writing. I know it is not time to read new articles. Also, it is not time to check Netflix.

There is an excellent article by CopyBlogger that summarizes 12 methods to get from a blank page to the first draft. It is a fantastic article, and I have already read it several times.

You can find a simplified Pomodoro technique in the text several times because it is so powerful when combined with other tools. Right now, I know I have just one interval a day to check all new HR Management articles in my RSS reader. It means I can allocate more time to my productive work and still feel that I know what happens.

Also, do you know that you can usually check Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter within one interval in a day? You have to change the way how you work with your smartphone. It is a tool; it is not your master telling you what you should do. Turn off as many notifications as you can. They are useless.

Also, allocate as many as possible intervals to your friends and family. They are real, and they are worth it.

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