Sharpen Your Focus Using the Pomodoro Technique

Kevin Mahoney

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#1
This week, I found a new (to me at least) method for helping with mental focus and time management. This new item on my tool belt is called the Pomodoro Technique. As I have been unfamiliar with it, I assume others may have been as well, and that is why I want to share it with you. What caught my attention about this technique was the simple, but solid, principle involved. This principle is one you may already practice, to a degree, but understanding it will allow you to employ it with more consistency.

In his blog, Warrior Mind Coach, Gregg Swanson describes the simple way the Pomodoro Technique was discovered by its creator Francesco Cirillo. Swanson (2017) states of Cirillo, “Instead of trying to make himself study for long periods of time, which proved to be unsuccessful, he limited the time he allowed himself to be distracted. By using a tomato-shaped kitchen timer, he would give himself 25 minutes to study without interruption. Once he heard the “ding!”, he gave himself a 5-minute break.”

As I stated earlier, we all have likely experienced the Pomodoro Technique at some point in our lives. Whether studying for an exam, or completing an important project at work, we know that we can reach a point of diminishing returns from protracted periods of focus. It turns out that a little break can help us be more effective than we would otherwise have been if we simply “sucked it up” and pushed through. The key to utilizing the technique to maximize its benefits is practicing the technique mindfully and on a consistent basis.

Does the Pomodoro Technique have the potential to help you improve your mental focus?

What techniques do you use to optimize your focus over long periods of time?

Swanson, G. October 12, 2017. 4 Techniques to Get Into Flow State. Retrieved from http://www.warriormindcoach.com/blog/
 
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Ricardo Ortiz

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#3
Well I usually take breaks after so much information. Sometimes go to the gym, boxing, or doing anything else. i have found that my mind is still working but does not feel like work and I focus better when I come back. But great stuff!
 

Ry!

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#4
I employ this technique after I heard it discussed on the podcast Cortex, which gets a recommendation from me! Didn't know it's name or origin though so that's new!

I'm still bouncing around what kind of time frames I want to employ regarding this. I'm also unsure if it's the best technique for me, I might be the kind of guy who just needs to bang his head against the wall, doing multiple work tasks for a short period of time each, but keeping the focus on work and then resting after the days work is done.
 

Sarah Carlson

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#6
I was looking through the threads and found
"Sharpen your focus using the tomato technique"

Huh? (I know a bit of Italian and pomodoro=tomato)

I read your post Kevin and went Ohhh that makes sense! It's a really good idea. (Plus the tomato shaped timer is cute)

I do something similar without the timer. When studying/working every 30 mins or so I take a ten minute break to listen to music. I remember better when relaxed and listening to music definitely helps me relax, so I can give my brain a rest + retain information more effectively.
 

dennmart

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#8
I've been doing this technique for years and it works wonderfully. Currently I do a 50/10 split (50 minutes of work, 10 minute break) since it works better for my type of work, so I encourage people to experiment with timing. A common mistake I see is people forcing themselves to strictly do 25 minutes when more time might be more beneficial.

One book I highly recommend for those interested is Pomodoro Technique Illustrated by Staffan Nöteberg. Besides explaining the basics, it also has other tips to get the most out of the technique. I learned a couple of new tricks from it that have worked really well.