As a working mom, I often have a lot on my mind and a lot on my to-do list. Sometimes it feels near impossible to focus and get things done.
Many time management techniques and strategies have been developed over the years to help in these situations and some are more effective than others.
The Pomodoro Technique is among the most popular. This time management system was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s and utilizes alternating periods of work and short breaks to maximize how much you get done each day.
This post is part of our 31 days of tips for Working Moms to find Calm in the Chaos of Life series.
The Pomodoro Technique and How it can Help You Accomplish More
What is Pomodoro?
The traditional Pomodoro pattern is 25 minutes of work and five minutes of break time. After four cycles, you would take a longer break of 30 minutes.
Taking regular breaks gives your brain a chance to relax and reset. Knowing that you only have to work for a short period of time makes it much easier to stay engaged and motivated. The technique works well with intellectual, manual, and creative tasks.
Sounds good? Let’s dive in.
How to use the Pomodoro Technique and accomplish more each day:
Use a timer. Don’t keep one eye on the clock while you’re trying to get your work done. Instead, use a timer and position it so you can’t see it. You can use your cell phone, computer, or a physical timer (maybe even one that makes a fun sound when it goes off and feels less like an alarm clock).
There are even pomodoro technique apps for your cell phone available. They incorporate your work time, break time, and longer breaks.
The use of a timer is critical. It provides a sense of urgency and the knowledge that you’ll get a break soon. See how much you can get done in 25 minutes. You might be surprised.
You can even use this “pomodoro technique timer,” a kitchen timer for which the technique was named.
Experiment with different intervals. Many people thrive with the traditional schedule of 25 minutes of work alternated with five-minute rest breaks. Others do well with 50 minutes of work and 10-minute breaks. See which works best for you. Consider trying other options, too.
You may find that certain tasks work better with longer or shorter intervals. It’s important to experiment and be flexible in your approach.
Ensure that you take a longer break every two hours. This can be 15-30 minutes in length. It’s a good idea to move around. Get a drink of water or take a short walk. Avoid skipping this long break. It will really pay off later in the day! You’ll have more energy and maintain your ability to focus.
Avoid distractions. Part of the effectiveness of the technique is from focusing intently on the task at hand. You’ll have a quick break in just a few minutes, so keep your mind on track.
Let others know you don’t want to be disturbed. Remember, you’re not doing anything but your work for the next 25 minutes.
That’s all there is to it. Give it a try for a few days and compare how much you get done, and how good you feel, to your normal workday. The Pomodoro Technique will also enhance your ability to focus and concentrate.
Most people find this time management technique highly effective and reach the end of the day feeling much more refreshed than usual.
It can also work wonders at home. Set your timer and see how much housework you can get done in 25 minutes. Your children can use the technique for homework and studying. You’ll find that you can accomplish much more in 25 minutes than you ever thought.
For further reading, here is the Pomodoro technique book:
Take the Pomodoro Technique for a test-run and see just how much you can get done each day.
This post is part of the 31 Tips for Working Moms series. See the rest of the posts here:
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