Beat Procrastination one Tomato at a Time

Yes, you read that correctly.

The Pomodoro Technique is a method of time management which was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s, using a timer to break down work time into intervals of usually 25 minutes with short, five-minute breaks to separate them and longer breaks after four cycles have been completed. These intervals are called ‘pomodoros’ after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer that Cirillo used for the technique during his university years. The method has been popularised by several apps and websites which provide timers, as well as many study and revision bloggers and Youtubers praising the effect that the technique has upon their productivity.

I have had a lot of success with the Pomodoro technique, however I don’t use it every time I sit down to work as I usually don’t work well within a rigid structure. I use the technique when I’m feeling particularly demotivated or I am having a lot of trouble breaking down a large task. It means that I can tell myself that I only have to work for 25 minutes before I can take a break, or I can assign myself small chunks of a big task to do each time and slowly chip away at the big picture. Nevertheless, I have also seen Pomodoro’s positive effects on those who really struggle with procrastination, as the lure of regular breaks means that work seems much more appealing, as well as those prone to overworking and burn-out as it forces them to take breaks and time away from work regularly.

Whilst you can just use your regular phone timer, or even a kitchen timer if you fancy staying absolutely faithful to Cirillo’s method, there are multiple apps you can use to help. A personal favourite is simply called ‘Pomodoro’ and has a cute cartoon tomato that slowly ripens with every cycle you complete. The app ‘Forest’ is also great as you plant a tree in your virtual forest which will only grow if you stay on the app for a certain amount of time or complete a certain amount of Pomodoro cycles. This means that the app also helps curb the temptations of social media procrastination by forcing you stay only on this app to grow your tree. However, there are also apps for those who prefer a less cutesy and more analytical approach, such as ‘Focus Keeper’ which can track your productivity over time and produce graphs tracking your progress. There really is something for everyone!

Happy Pomodoro-ing!


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