Getting Stuff Done with the Pomodoro Technique

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If you are lucky enough to get off-desk time to work uninterrupted during the week then you know you need to make the most of it. That’s when the Pomodoro Technique can be your best friend. It’s a relatively simple system of focused work time broken up by breaks. You can read all about it at here, but let me break it down the easy way:

1.Choose a task to be accomplished, preferably already broken down in to actionable sub-tasks.

2. Set a timer for 25 minutes. You can use a physical kitchen timer, your phone’s clock, or one of the many Pomodoro specific apps. Marinara Timer offers a web-based timer you can use in a spare browser window.

3. Work on the task until time is up, then put a check on your sheet of paper. During this time work only on the task. Do not check your email, do not go for a cup of coffee, do not stop to tell a co-worker something. If it’s important jot it down and come back to it later. Spend those 25 minutes only on the task at hand.

4. Take a short break, five minutes works for most users.  Don’t worry if it’s not your official break time, you can just do a different type of work for those five minutes.  Check your work email, walk around and refill book displays, or pull supplies for a program. Just give your brain a break for the work you were focused on before.

5. After every 4 “pomodoros” (sets of 25 minutes + break) take a longer break. This is a good time for your actual break, lunch, or likely the end of the quiet time you have to get something done.

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