Procrastination: the Pomodoro technique, why does it work?

Procrastination: the Pomodoro technique, why does it work?

There are timers in the shape of a frog, a cat or even an egg. But it was a tomato-shaped timer that inspired Italian Francesco Cirillo when he developed his time management technique in the 1980s. The Pomodoro Technique (pomodoro means tomato in Italian) has since proven itself and is widely acclaimed by all those who seek to concretely fight against procrastination.

A simple and effective technique

The simplest solutions are often the best. With the Pomodoro technique, the principle is elementary: to complete a specific task, get a timer, set it to 25 minutes and focus only on the task at hand during that time. When the timer rings, take a five-minute break before starting a new 25-minute time slot devoted once again to a specific task, the same as the one you were working on previously or another.

You can do a maximum of four 25-minute sessions, with a 5 to 10-minute break between each session. After these four times, allow yourself a longer break, around 20 to 30 minutes. By following this method, you will gradually become extremely efficient.
In detail, you must first be clear with your objective. Write it down in black and white, and, if necessary, list the main tasks that will make it possible and that you will perform during the Pomodoro sessions. Each time the timer rings, you can check a box next to the task you were performing to confirm that you completed a Pomodoro. Don’t worry about the size of the task at hand. The goal is not to finish it absolutely in one session but to be fully focused on a single task for a while. Concentrating completely on it allows you to move forward effectively. Note also that an interrupted Pomodoro does not count.
Francesco Cirillo shares three tips for further optimizing the technique:
– Always have a notepad handy: if something, urgent or not, comes to mind during the 25 minutes of concentration, write it down and forget about it.
– Take real breaks: get up, walk, stretch, drink a glass of water… The brain needs breaths to stay on top and assimilate.
– Any Pomodoro started must be completed. If there’s time left when you think you’re done, take the opportunity to take stock or check your work one last time.

Why does it work?

In time management, Parkinson’s law states that the more time you have to perform a task, the more time you will tend to take to complete it. So, if you plan to take an hour to write two paragraphs, chances are it will take you an hour to get through this little text. We therefore understand the interest of setting 25-minute slots!

This period is also long enough to have time to act without being too long not to discourage. Difficult today to project oneself in a full hour without social networks or emails. But 25 minutes, it still seems playable. Obviously, deleting notifications helps to stay focused. For a good start, therefore, consider eliminating sources of distraction, not only digital: the packet of cookies at hand falls into this category…

Finally, the Pomodoro technique incorporates a gratification system that reinforces self-esteem. On the one hand, having managed once to last 25 minutes without distracting proves that we can do it, on the other hand, ticking a box to signify “done” is always a source of satisfaction. It is also a way of motivating yourself, and a support to carry out your projects because you learn little by little to optimize your time and your way of working. Used well, the Pomodoro method can therefore be seen as a tool to improve self-confidence.

Can the Pomodoro Technique Save Procrastinators?

Improving concentration, strengthening attention spans, refining understanding of our work mechanisms… the promises of the Pomodoro technique are enticing. No wonder they appeal to inveterate procrastinators who despair of not accomplishing their projects. However, it does not solve the basic problem encountered by the latter. It is based on the fact that the satisfaction felt at the end of the first Pomodoro will be enough to motivate us to continue with a second. You still have to succeed in taking action for the first time!

And there, no miracle. Procrastination isn’t about organization, it’s about motivation. Very often, when we can’t get started on a task or a project, it’s because something is holding us back. Putting these brakes into words is the first step in the fight against procrastination. The Pomodoro technique intervenes in a second time, when one has succeeded in overcoming unconscious blockages and that one is really ready to take action knowingly. It can then be a valuable tool, especially for carrying out tasks that put us off but that we must still carry out.

Source: Psychologies

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