The Pomodoro Technique is a time management system that a few of our team members have successfully used to increase their day-to-day productivity. Here is a quick rundown of how it works:

> Plan your to-do list. Keep it to 3-4 main tasks.

> Set a timer to run for 15 to 25 minutes and focus on a single task. Do your best to not let anything interrupt you.

> Once the timer goes off, make a checkmark next to the task on your list and take a five-minute break.

> When you come back, either continue to work on your current task or pick a new one and dive back in for another interval.

> Take a longer break once you’ve completed four “poms.”

While this may sound pretty basic, research backs up the concept of breaking projects into smaller pieces to improve performance. Using the Pomodoro Method tricks your brain into focusing on only a small part of your goal, and this helps avoid the feeling of overwhelm that can come with big projects.

There are some rules in the formal system we don’t really follow. For example, you’re not supposed to check your email during a break as that’s just more “work.” That doesn’t work for most of us. Another rule that gets bent is stopping at 25 minutes. If you’re focused and getting things done, make a quick note of the new start and just keep going.

In case you’re wondering where the “pomodoro” comes from, Francesco Cirillo, the inventor of the system, is Italian and his original timer was shaped like the tomato timer in the photo. And the Italian word for tomato is – you guessed it – pomodoro.

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