Pomodoro is a simple time management technique. When you are working on something, at work, at home or wherever, set a timer for 25 minutes. When the timer rings, take a break for 5 minutes. After four 25-minute sessions, take a 20-minute break. Pretty simple. Pomodoro means tomato in Italian.
If you type in Pomodoro at Google or Bing, you will find many tools and variations on this basic recipe. I’ve tried a few tools, but now I keep it simple. I use a basic kitchen timer, similar to this one, I bought at Canadian Tire. I think most, if not all, mobile phones these days come loaded with a basic timer that will work.
These are my observations and experiences of using the Pomodoro timer:
- I have more stamina over the day, because I am taking regular breaks.
- I am getting a lot more housework done, because I am too restless just to sit and do nothing during my breaks.
- Doing physical housework or chores is actually a good break, considering most of my work is mental.
- I am getting more done.
- I am more relaxed.
- I have less anxiety building up over the day.
- This technique helps me to pace myself better.
- My self-discipline is better.
- I don’t overdo things or overwork.
- The frequent breaks give me time to reflect on my day, my progress, and to make sure I am practising moderation in all things.
- When I am doing something that is strenuous mentally or physically, I set the timer for less than 25 minutes.
- I don’t follow the technique religiously. Sometimes I go over 25 minutes when I want to finish what I am doing. Sometimes I have a break longer than 5 minutes depending on what I am doing during my break.
I am relearning High School math in order to study Computer Science at university. It has been 30 years since I’ve done any math, and my memory isn’t the greatest. So there’s a lot to learn/relearn. I am certain using the Pomodoro technique helps me stick to my program, even when I have no deadlines (because I am studying Math on my own at Khan Academy).