Are you feeling guilty about wasting time on your phone? Procrastination is a major problem that significantly affects individual behavior and health. Many people struggle with productivity. It’s easy to stare at your phone and scroll through social media but more difficult to put it down. Here's how to build self-control, overcome distractions, and get your work done with the Pomodoro technique.
What is the Pomodoro technique? And how can you use it to reduce screen use and make the most of your time? The Pomodoro technique is one of the most popular strategies to tackle procrastination. It has proven effective in increasing focus and motivation. Francesco Cirillo invented this technique in the early 1900s, named after his tomato timer. The underlying idea is simple: one can become more productive by breaking down a large goal into smaller tasks with intermittent breaks.
The approach entails 25-minute intense work intervals followed by 5-minute breaks to complete one cycle or, as the name implies, a Pomodoro. You then reward yourself after every 4th Pomodoro (or hour) with a longer break of 15-30 minutes.
The practical question is: how can you incorporate this strategy into your daily routine and broader life plans? By drawing upon the GPAR (goals, plan, action, reflection) heuristic, you can easily utilize the Pomodoro technique whenever you seek heightened productivity.
It is essential to begin with a goal. Having a goal in mind will provide a sense of direction of what you want to accomplish in a given time frame. Larger goals need to be broken down into smaller milestones for each Pomodoro. Let’s say you wanted to study for an important exam. You could review lecture 1 in the first Pomodoro, take a break, and then start with lecture 2 in the second Pomodoro. Of course, you could also cover a lecture over two Pomodoros. The choice is entirely yours which brings us to the letter P.
Planning your tasks for each Pomodoro might seem tedious, but it is an important step often overlooked. First-timers might find it too easy to complete a task before 25-minutes or not be able to get things done at all. By planning what you want to achieve in each Pomodoro, you are essentially creating a structure consisting of smaller steps. However, it’s important to bear in mind that the Pomodoro technique is flexible and you can tailor your plan to fit what works best for you.
Once you have set up your plan, it’s time to take action. Taking action is the hardest step. During the 25-minute sprints, it is paramount to focus entirely on productivity. Distractions such as looking through your phone, texting, or even talking to a friend can be detrimental to the entire process. Postpone the distractions for later.
After you completed your goal for the day, take some time to look back and reflect. Have you been productive or distracted? Was it challenging to complete tasks in the given time frame? Should you have defined smaller tasks to fit into the Pomodoros? Take note of what went well and what didn’t. Use the information to improve your organization skills. This step is not mandatory, but doing so will help you understand the ways in which you can become even more productive.
There you have it. A quick guide on how to apply the Pomodoro technique to achieve your goals and make the most of your precious time. If you are struggling with procrastination, then this is a must-try.
Editing: Alper Baysan