The Pomodoro Technique With A Twist

When it comes to productivity hacks, I’ve tried them all.  (Well, if not all, then ALOT.)  And this is not the first time I’m writing about this topic since I’m always on the hunt for techniques and practices that work.

Aside of my personal quest for maximizing my productivity and output, the entire topic fascinates me, since productivity encompasses so many things at once.   Time Management, Motivation, Organization, Urgency, Priorities, Peak Physical Health, Mental Clarity, Energy Management and Good Ergonomics, all factor into our ability to be top performers.

Between competing work projects and deadlines, unexpected interruptions,  endless e-mails, texts, tweets, social media, calling my mom and all of the distractions we are all up against, sitting down (or standing up) for focused work sessions is becoming more and more challenging.  And I know I’m not alone in this.

I have a dear friend who is facing a different type of work challenge then the rest of us who have our plates full with full time work – she’s on sabbatical and is working on writing her book.  I am working very full time and working on my book.   She is struggling from a lack of structure and distractions while I am struggling from too much structure and distractions.  And so, we talked about coming together each week to be co-working buddies.  And that is when she introduced me to the Pomodoro Technique.   The what????

The Pomodoro Technique

Turns out that the Pomodoro Technique is a time management strategy developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s.  He named the method after his tomato-shaped kitchen timer that he used when he was a university student. The method is very straight forward.  And in fact, according to Wikipedia, there are 6 steps to the original technique.

  1. Decide on the task to be done.
  2. Set the pomodoro timer (traditionally to 25 minutes)
  3. Work on the task.
  4. End work when the timer rings and put a checkmark on a piece of paper
  5. If you have fewer than four checkmarks, take a short break (3–5 minutes), then go to step 2.
  6. After four pomodoros, take a longer break (15–30 minutes), reset your checkmark count to zero, then go to step one.

Pomodoro With A Twist

So, my friend and I made good on our word and met up at a local cafe, told each other what we were going to work on in our first Pomodoro, set the timer for 30 minutes and boom!  We were off to the races.

At first, I fought the urge to peak at my e-mail, or ask her a question and definitely fought the urge to look at my phone.  But then I remembered the clock was ticking and delved in.

I was so impressed with how much I got done in that first pomodoro, that for the second one, I found it much easier to ignore the temptation of checking my phone, Facebook, etc., and was surprised when the timer went off, because I was fully focused.

However, I noticed that I was sloppy with my posture.   Unfortunately she had to leave – but I continued to try out the method and this time for my remaining pomodoros, I added in adjusting my work set up and posture before starting the timer and factored that into the equation as well.

And then I was off to the races!

So, I will add in a few ergo twists this pomodoro recipe.

  1. Decide if you will sit or stand for the upcoming pomodoro.
  2. Do a quick body scan and make sure you have a good upright and balanced posture and are not holding tension anywhere.
  3. Take 3 deep breaths.
  4. Decide on your task
  5. Set the Pomodoro
  6. Work on your task.
  7. Check in on your posture about 1/2 way through.
  8. End your work task when the timer goes off.
  9. Take a few minutes to relax, stretch, quiet your mind and body.
  10. Lather.  Rinse.  Repeat.

Try it.  It really works!

And let me know in the comments what you think and how it worked for you!

Until the next time,





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