The Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique is a simple time-management technique that can help structure your time. A free ebook is available.

The idea behind it is very simple: when we want to get work done – be it work on a job, or learning a new skill, we frequently get distracted. When we get distracted it is tough to focus. Furthermore, there is an optimum amount of time we can spend on something without getting a little restless.

When I was in middle school and high school, each period or class was 40 minutes long. As you might expect, even for people motivated to study, this was a little bit too long. The last 10 minutes of each period weren’t as productive as the rest. And the authors of the Pomodoro Technique agree: they believe the optimum study time without a break is 25 minutes.

A 25 minute work period + 5 minute rest constitute a ‘Pomodoro’. While working, you cannot get distracted at all: no email, no grabbing a snack, no answering phone calls, no nothing – it is straight up working. If you remember something else you have to do, write it down and get back to work. If you *do* get distracted – by family, a phone call, the door bell, etc, the period doesn’t matter. The 5 minute rest can be put towards anything: any of the above, as well as surfing the web or watching a Youtube video.

Your goal, when following the Pomodoro Technique, is to get as many ‘Pomodoros’ as possible.

I’ve found this useful when I intend to learn something. My goal can be to get 3 Pomodoros done each night after work – one Pomodoro of language learning and two of programming. On a weekend, I might try to get as many done as possible before lunch. Software has been written for various operating systems and even web browsers to help you track your time and structure it into Pomodoros.

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