For anyone struggling to concentrate for 40 hours a week (who doesn’t) the Pomodoro technique is a time management tool that’s been hailed as one of the best for increasing your productivity.
It’s received a lot of hype over the past few years, which is why it seemed like the perfect method to try out for our latest edition of ‘Team Organic Tries’.
What is Pomodoro?
The technique is a version of timeboxing, developed by Francesco Cirillo in the 80s while he studied at university.
Cirillo made use of a tomato timer by creating a system to increase his productivity during his studies. The system requires you to concentrate on one task for 25 minutes and take a 5 minute interval after each ‘Pomodoro’. Every four Pomodoros you can take a 15-30 minute break.
Now we know the rules, it’s time to give it a go!
Since the Team Organic office is an open plan one, using a physical tomato timer minutes isn’t an ideal solution for when people are trying to concentrate.
Instead, the first day consisted of trying to find a suitable app that would work in the office, and that would integrate with the apps we use. I had a look at various apps, but settled on the Pomo Done App.
The Pomo Done App handily integrates with Wunderlist, a great trick if you’re an avid to-do lister, like myself.
After finding the app, setting it up and getting used to the system, the next step was to do my first Pomodoro. While perhaps not as effective as if I had begun the day with it, there was definitely an increase in my concentration between the tasking periods.
With a Pomodoro ready to go at the start of the day, it was much easier to concentrate for a set amount of time.
However, the difficulty was taking breaks when the Pomodoro finished, rather than when it felt natural, or when an email or message came through, which disrupted the workflow.
Sticking to one task required concentration to begin with, but even by the end of the second day I could see the benefits.
Day three was Friday, which for me means working from home day!
Heading to install the Pomo Done App it became clear that the free download was exclusive to Windows, as the app required a £4.99 payment to the App Store.
Finding no free alternative apps that matched up to Pomo Done App, I instead used the Marinara Timer.
While the online alternative doesn’t integrate with Wunderlist in the same way, it does mean you can switch tasks without having to notify an app. After the initial issues this worked just as well, if not better.
A very grey and moody Monday morning doesn’t usually inspire me into intense concentration first thing, but surprisingly once the timer was going, so was I.
However, it is evident you can’t Pomodoro all day. If you have ideas mid-Pomodoro, the ‘rules’ encourage you to write them down for later. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always work, especially if your idea is time-relevant.
If you work in an office or coworking space, you may be required to stop mid Pomodoro if you’re distracted, which can throw you off track for the afternoon.
It takes a bit more concentration to get back in the flow, but once done productivity is noticeably increased.
Already I’ve reached the last day, but it seems to have flown by. Splitting my time into manageable chunks has certainly made me immerse myself in one task at a time, meaning my working hours seem to whizz past.
Predictably, day five was the most productive day of all as I was most used to using the technique and able to implement it more effectively within my daily routine.
This is a great technique to try. It’s not guaranteed to work for everyone, but for a few, it can do wonders.
Working in an open plan office can be difficult and mean there are lots of distractions; whether from the office radio, general chatter or people coming and speaking to you. I would recommend trying the technique when you have a time limit to work, rather than using it for general tasks throughout the day.
Personally, I found it helped me train myself to stick to one task at a time without getting as distracted; perfect for a content writer who needs to get pieces out to a deadline!
Have you tried out the Pomodoro technique to boost your productivity? Do you think you’ll give it a go after our test run? Leave your comments in the section below or tell us on Twitter!