Pomodoro-Technik Kapitel 21 Change Journal

How to get more done in 25 minute slots

Pomodoro-Technik Kapitel 21 Change Journal

Chapter 21 from the CHANGE JOURNAL »

Pomodoro? Of course you know this Italian word ... as in “spaghetti al pomodoro” – spaghetti with tomato sauce. Delicious. But this is not about food. (Wait, maybe I should write a cookbook for self-optimizers, “The tasty way to more efficiency”?) For now, we’ll appease your appetite for relaxed, productive work instead.

Highest urgency + greatest importance = top priority. In traditional time management, tasks are processed according to this equation. But this scenario ignores one key element: concentration. It is scientifically proven that the ability to focus diminishes after a while. Errors, lack of concentration, irritability: The list of how reduced performance impacts us is long and measurable.

Against this background, the Italian Francesco Cirillo developed a strategy in the 1980s that incorporated performance. Since he used one of these insanely trendy kitchen clocks in the shape of a tomato during his research, Cirillo called his result the Pomodoro Technique. (Isn’t it impressive how direct and simple the inspiration for certain things can be?)

Cirillo discovered that it is better to split up large tasks into smaller work phases ... phases where highly concentrated work is possible without any disturbances: No smartphone! No email! No nothing! These split phases take the natural cycles of concentration into account: 25 minutes of power, followed by a 5-minute break.

This procedure also has a motivating effect: The results of the intermediate steps are always visible, which make really big tasks no longer seem overwhelming.

Specifically, the Pomodoro Technique consists of five steps:

1. The written formulation of the task
2. Setting a timer to 25 minutes
3. Processing the task until the timer rings
4. Adhering to a break of 5 minutes
5. Taking a longer break of 15 to 20 minutes after every 4 units

You can try out this technique on the following pages! It’s exciting to guess how many Pomodoros you’ll need for each task in advance ... and then compare your estimates with the number of units actually required. I am guessing that you’ll be amazed how much you can do in a short time without any distractions! And true to Parkinson’s principle (page 180), it makes perfect sense to be a bit more stingy with those Pomodoros. So it’s better to calculate fewer units than to be too generous.
Hopefully, this has stimulated your appetite for the combination platter of bite-sized portions of concentrated work and relaxation. By the time dessert is served, you’ll have had more fun with better results.

Get our "Pomodoro-Day" template to track your individual pomodoro slots. Simply sign up for the newsletter here and download it.