pomodoro technique

How to apply the Pomodoro Technique at work

You have probably already heard about the Pomodoro technique at work. The reason is that increasing productivity at work has always been one of the objectives to be achieved in companies, which in turn represents a constant challenge for many professionals. This has sparked the creation of a number of techniques capable of helping in the process of time management, to organise tasks efficiently, and increase productivity.

Among the many techniques and strategies available, the Pomodoro technique stands out as one of the most effective tools for improving concentration and efficiency. Let’s see what it is all about.

What is the Pomodoro Technique? 

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s because he needed to find a way to manage and administer the time he devoted to each task. 

The name “Pomodoro” (Italian for “tomato”) comes from the tomato-shaped kitchen timers that Cirillo used during his university studies. According to his theory, Francesco claimed it was easier to eat a tomato when cutting it into pieces than eating it whole. Thus, the technique is based on the idea of dividing the work into short intervals of time, called “Pomodoro”, followed by short breaks.

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Concretely, it consists of dividing the activities into 30-minute intervals, in which 25 minutes are for work and the remaining 5 minutes should be for a break or rest. After 4 pomodoros, a longer break of 15 minutes is taken. This technique thus allows a constant and agile work rhythm to be sustained by maintaining concentration on a given task in order to optimise productivity and maintain motivation.

pomodoro technique

How to apply the Pomodoro technique to work

Within the business world, time management strategies are very useful for carrying out projects, activities and coordinating teams. By implementing the Pomodoro technique at work, productivity will be maximised, without losing control of the to-do list. 

In this case, the Pomodoro technique at work would consist of dividing the concentration sessions and adding short breaks, which will help to reduce the mental fatigue that usually occurs due to poor time management and tasks to be performed. 

If the activity or task is to be done by a team, this technique can be adapted to divide it into time blocks so that the amount of work is less overwhelming. If you teach your team members how to manage time effectively, the team’s productivity will improve, achieving favourable results for both the company and the workers.

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Benefits of applying the Pomodoro technique at work

As mentioned above, time management strategies bring multiple benefits to organisations, and employees. In this case, the Pomodoro technique aims to increase productivity without sacrificing workers’ mental health. The advantages of applying the Pomodoro technique at work include the following:

  1. Improves concentration: Dividing work into segments of concentrated time helps to maintain focus and avoids procrastination of tasks.
  1. Improved time management and planning: By assigning specific times to tasks, you gain more control over the working day, avoiding the feeling of being overwhelmed.
  1. Preventing burnout: Short breaks between pomodoros allow you to recharge your energy and reduce mental fatigue, fostering a healthy balance between work and rest to avoid burnout syndrome
  1. Increased productivity: The Pomodoro technique at work boosts staff productivity by providing a structured framework for approaching tasks, which helps to avoid distractions and promote efficiency.
  2. Maintains motivation levels: By dividing tasks into short intervals and working in a concentrated manner during these minutes, the person will be able to realise how much work can be done in short periods of time. This reinforces the idea that you are being productive, and increases the satisfaction of completing a task. There is also a sense of gratification at completing 4 pomodoros and being able to reach the longer break.
pomodoro technique

How to apply the Pomodoro technique

In order to apply this technique correctly, several aspects must be taken into account. First of all, list the tasks to be performed or the objectives to be achieved should be kept. In addition, possible distractions or external factors that could interfere with applying the Pomodoro technique at work should be identified to control them effectively.

Thus, to apply the Pomodoro technique at work correctly, check out the following steps: 

  1. Make a list of the tasks to be done and order them according to their level of relevance or urgency.
  2. Once sorted by priority level, select the first task you will work on.
  3. Identify and neutralise possible distractions. For example, putting your mobile phone on aeroplane mode, or turning off notifications on your computer, can help you concentrate during work time.  
  4. Select a time-measuring tool. This can be a clock, a physical or digital stopwatch, or even apps on your phone that will alert you when time is up.
  5. Set the timer and set a 25-minute time (a pomodoro), during which you will focus only on the selected task.
  6. Spend those 25 minutes working on the task in a concentrated manner without distractions. Once the time is up, acknowledge the work done and mark the task as completed or “in progress”. 
  7. After completing a pomodoro, take a short 5-minute break. Use this time to stretch, take a deep breath, or relax briefly.
  8. Repeat the cycle of work and rest. After four pomodoros, take a longer break of 15-30 minutes.
  9. After you have finished a task, record how many pomodoros it took you to complete it. This will help you plan future work sessions.

In the case of teamwork, you can start with individual application of the technique to specific tasks.  At the end of the day, the team can meet to review the status of the activities and count the number of ‘pomodoros’ that have been completed. 

By recording the number of pomodoros on an ongoing basis, it will be possible to better plan a work schedule to estimate the number of pomodoros that will be needed for certain tasks and overall projects.

pomodoro technique

Pros and cons of the Pomodoro technique at work

As with everything, there is no magic solution that fits all contexts. Therefore, using the Pomodoro technique at work has great benefits, but it can also have disadvantages, depending on the type of work to do. Below is a summary table of the main pros and cons of applying this technique.

Pros and Cons of using the Pomodoro technique at work
– The interval work structure promotes deep concentration on the task at hand, reducing distractions.

– The technique provides a structured approach to time management, helping to prioritise tasks and avoid procrastination.

– Short breaks between pomodoros prevent mental fatigue, helping to maintain a constant level of energy throughout the day.

– It is a simple technique to adopt. All you need is a timer and a willingness to commit to work intervals.

– The Pomodoro method works to boost productivity by providing a structure that makes it easier to complete tasks.
– Some people may feel constrained by the rigid structure of working in fixed blocks of time, as certain jobs may require flexibility.

– In unpredictable work environments, interruptions may make it difficult to adhere to predetermined intervals.

– Not everyone finds that the Pomodoro technique fits their work style. Some may feel more productive with different approaches.

– Short breaks may not be sufficient for tasks that require greater disengagement, which could affect the quality of rest periods.

– If it has not been used before, using the Pomodoro technique at work may take time to adjust to, especially for those who are used to working on a continuous basis.

Prioritising mental well-being at work: tailoring techniques to your team

The Pomodoro technique is a valuable tool for many, but like any method, it has its pros and cons. The key is adapting it to individual needs and work contexts to take advantage of what it offers. 

A good way to do this is by changing the duration of Pomodoro sessions to align with your own work pace or level of task intensity. Also, this technique can be mixed with other organisational strategies that make it easier for you to execute the activities. Finally, remember that this strategy is only a method to help you when you need it. If you feel that using it throughout the day is too much, you can try to apply it when you need that extra productivity boost.

Trust the leaders

At ifeel, we know that using the Pomodoro technique at work can be a powerful tool for improving productivity and effective time management at work. To take things to the next level, adapt the technique to your needs to the job’s and your team’s characteristics, so as not to put work well-being at risk. 

To support companies in this process, our team of expert workplace well-being psychologists has created a mental well-being solution for businesses that improves talent retention, reduces presenteeism, and combats employee stress. 

With our mental well-being solution, your company’s HR managers can receive personalised, data-driven advice on improving mental health at work. In addition, this solution offers employees a 360° mental well-being service structured at different levels according to their needs. Try our solution now to see how it could help you.

We hope you found this article on how to apply the Pomodoro technique at work interesting. If you would like more information about our mental well-being solution for companies, simply request it, and we will contact your team as soon as possible.

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