Improve Your Focus: Try The Pomodoro Technique

Pomodoro Technique Improves FocusMeet Nancy. Nancy is a very busy intellectual property (IP) lawyer by day. Her passion though, is defending the poor. So Nancy started a blog where she writes legal advice for under served segments. However, her day job, combined with expert witness request,s her church work and family all leave her little time to focus on the blog and her tribe.

After months of struggling to keep her blog updated regularly, Nancy is at the end of her rope. Every time she sits to write a post, a hundred distractions arise. She feels the quality of her posts slipping and is afraid of losing her tribe. She does not want to give up the site, but what is she to do? She needs to try the Pomodoro Technique.

What Is The Pomodoro Technique?

The Pomodoro Technique is a tool that boxes your time into four periods of intense focus, for 25 minutes, each. Each of these “pomodoros” is then followed by a 5 minute break. After the fourth period, you take a longer break of about 20 minutes.

You begin the day by laying out your tasks and allocating them by Pomodoro. If an effort is expected to require more than one Pomodoro, you simply allocate the necessary number of periods. Then, you use a timer of some form to track each time period and keep your focus dedicated.

How The Pomodoro Technique Improves Focus

Adapted from the objectives identified by Francesco Cirillo in his book, “The Pomodoro Technique” (available for free at the link here and below):

The Pomodoro Technique Schedule in a Pie Graph1. Define Effort: Helps you understand how much time it really takes to complete each task.

2. Reduces Interruptions: By focusing your time into small blocks, it is easier to concentrate on one item at a time.

In addition, I find the following benefits:

3. Race to Complete: As each pomodoro winds down, I am motivated to complete the task before the period ends.

4. Delay Interruptions: I know there’s always a 5 minute break coming up. Therefore, I find it easier to postpone common distractions.

Focus Booster – Free Application for Pomodoro Practitioners

If you are like me, just reading about a great technique like this is not enough to make you try it. However, you may find this simple but effective tool is just the trick. Here’s what this free pomodoro timer application does for me:

1. Enables me to use the Pomodoro Technique wherever I go: While any timer will work, my laptop goes almost everywhere with me – certainly when I plan to work on details for the office or my blog.

2. Provides visual and audio clues: The timer bar extends and changes colors as more time elapses. Therefore, you are alerted as you get close to the end of each pomodoro. There is also an option to have an audible “ticking” sound. I find this keeps my subconscious on the task at hand.

3. It Looks Cool: How cool can a timer be, really? I agree. But at least it’s as cool as possible. This also makes it a bit of a discussion piece. Because I am a proponent of the tool and technique, it gives me a chance to explain these tools to co-workers.

Free Resources

Free Book: The Pomodoro Technique, by Francesco Cirillo

Free Cheat Sheet: The Pomodoro Cheat Sheet on Scribd

Free Application: Focus Booster

It is important to know that I do not cover all aspects of the Pomodoro technique here. Instead, I emphasize only the portions that I use myself and suggest for other leaders. More on the Pomodoro Technique and it’s practices can be found at the Pomodoro Technique website.

Question: What techniques do you use to maintain your focus? Have you tried the Pomodoro Technique and does it help you?

2017-04-29T04:57:49+00:00 Resources|3 Comments

About the Author:

Ben Lichtenwalner is the founder ModernServantLeader.com – the leading blog on servant leadership and top 35 site for any leadership topic, globally. Ben also speaks and consults on IT and management topics for a large variety of clients. Find out more about him at https://ModernServantLeader.com.

3 Comments

  1. AE Thanh March 30, 2011 at 9:43 am - Reply

    I’m also a big fan of the pomodoro technique, especially when I feel like procrastinating. All I need is one pomodoro and I’m back into work mode.

    Over time, as you have done a lot of pomodoros, I’ve noticed myself and people around me starting to use different timers. We now mostly do 50/10 instead of 25/5. I still use 25/5 but only when I need to get myself started.

    • Benjamin Lichtenwalner March 30, 2011 at 11:23 pm - Reply

      Thanks for that great insight. I especially like how you adapted the 25 to 50, but also incremented the rest period equally. I’ll try that as well.Thank you for sharing and great site by the way.

  2. AE Thanh March 30, 2011 at 9:43 am - Reply

    I’m also a big fan of the pomodoro technique, especially when I feel like procrastinating. All I need is one pomodoro and I’m back into work mode.

    Over time, as you have done a lot of pomodoros, I’ve noticed myself and people around me starting to use different timers. We now mostly do 50/10 instead of 25/5. I still use 25/5 but only when I need to get myself started.

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