Today one of the most well-known time management methods, the Pomodoro Technique is famous for a reason. Based on the idea of 25-minute stretches of focused work followed by five-minute breaks, it has become a tried and true strategy for staying focused in a world that seems to be adding more potential distractions each year.
According to Mark Hauser, an actor and voice actor with over two decades of experience across the industry, the Pomodoro Technique has been instrumental in his creative process. Whether it be studying scripts or researching for a role, Mark Hauser said the method forces him to focus on his current task for a short but defined period of time. No procrastination, no surfing the internet, when the timer is on work is being done.
In addition to the five-minute breaks, longer breaks of 15 to 30 minutes are taken after four consecutive 30 minute work intervals. These work intervals are called a pomodoro, which is Italian for tomato.
The history of the Pomodoro Technique
The method was originally developed by Francesco Cirillo, a developer and entrepreneur who has since written several books on the subject of time management. A university student in the late 1980’s (well before the personal smartphone and apps), Cirillo created the technique and so named it because of the tomato-shaped kitchen time he used to organize his study schedule.
Cirillo experimented with many different combinations of intervals from two minutes to an hour before arriving at the now famous 25-minute pomodoro as the ideal time for concentration.
How the Pomodoro Technique can help
Mark Hauser says that we can often get into the mindset of “time being the enemy.” We view our time as precious, and yet when it comes time to do the work we waste countless hours procrastinating. The Pomodoro Technique retrains the way your brain thinks about time, allowing it to see it as an ally in your efforts rather than a source of anxiety.
Essentially, the Pomodoro Technique teaches people to better focus on tasks by putting an end point on the length of time they are required to maintain focus. This, coupled with restorative breaks that are perceived as “rewards” for their effort, has helped millions of people change their productivity habits for the better.
Tips for starting the Pomodoro Technique
Mark Hauser says that at first, working in such small increments may feel unnatural. We humans tend to view things in black and white: either you don’t focus, or you give your utter concentration to something for hours at a time. You may be tempted to ignore the timer when it goes off and continue working. However, there is a reason this technique has managed to stand the test of time, and that is because the specific intervals of 25 minutes of concentration coupled with five minutes of rest has time and again proven to aid in overall productivity.