Earlier tonight I presented a five-minute speech to 500 people at the Ignite Phoenix event. The topic of my talk was “Mastering the Pomodoro Technique in 5 Minutes.” The Pomodoro Technique is a very simple method that can help anyone enable concentration and focus amidst their busy, distracted and multitasking lives.
Ignite Phoenix is a quarterly event that brings together 18 new presenters who each give a brief talk on a particular topic they are passionate about. Every speech is just 5 minutes long with 20 slides that advance automatically every 15 seconds. It’s is a fun format which allows for an exchange that is both entertaining and educational.
Here’s the 5-minute video:
The Pomodoro Technique
I’ve always been pretty disciplined about managing my time, writing down my goals and using various systems to stay organized. There’s just a lot to do every day. But we all face an ever-expanding flow of little things that sap our attention — emails, calls, texts, tweets, meetings, news, and more. And now these digital distractions follow us everywhere.
How can busy people make time to get the harder deep thinking work done that creates the most value in our workday? That’s what the Pomodoro Technique does best.
The Pomodoro Technique uses a simple system developed in the 1990’s by an Italian graduate student to help him be more productive in his studies. It uses a simple kitchen timer – his was shaped like a tomato. In Italian, the word for tomato is pomodoro.
Four simple steps
- Choose an important task you need to work on and write it down
- Set a kitchen timer for 25 minutes
- Work on that task without stopping for 25 minutes (really)
- When the bell rings, stop for 5 min and take a quick break
That’s it. It’s not a big fancy system that requires you to buy a book or attend a class, but it really works. I started using this method about six months ago to help me get more valuable “thinking work” accomplished during my busy workday.
This system helps our brains to focus quickly; it’s the opposite of multi-tasking. Twenty-five minutes is long enough to make progress on any task, but not so long that it feels like a major time commitment or a big ordeal.
The Pomodoro Technique can be used by any busy person who needs to develop a concentration habit, including business executives, consultants, creatives, programmers, students, writers, teachers. It’s a great procrastination fighter, too.
Take the 25-minute challenge
Take a look again at these simple steps of the Pomodoro Technique. I challenge you to grab a kitchen timer (or Pomodoro software timer app) and pick an important task that your brain thinks is hard.
Then do just one 25-minute Pomodoro in the middle of a busy day. I guarantee the results will surprise you.
The Pomodoro Technique has helped me. Has it helped you?