Navigating Productivity: The Pomodoro Technique 🍅

Last week we had a quick tour around the world of productivity. We stopped off in the States, Japan, Italy, and Sweden.

No UK though? We need to get our act together and invent a productivity system.

This week we're going to spend some time soaking in the sights, sounds, and tomatoes of Italy.

Italy is home to the pomodoro (Italian for tomato) technique. So what is it?

A Brief Dive into the Tomato 🍅

The Pomodoro technique was created by a uni student called Francesco Cirillo in the late 80s. That's this guy ⤵

Cirillo was struggling to manage his time and needed a way to keep focused while studying. A tomato shaped timer on his desk acted as a way to time his work. His steps were simple:

  • Set it to 25 minutes
  • Head down and study
  • Bell goes off
  • Enjoy a nice break for doing some good work

He initially chose a 25-minute working period because it was short enough to stay focused and long enough to make meaningful progress on a task.

But hold on! Is 25 minutes enough for meaningful work to get done?

For anyone who's read Cal Newport's content about deep work, it doesn't feel like it.

Let's have a look at why people use it and the benefits they might get.

Unravelling the Pomodoro Technique

1. Keeping Distractions at Bay: The Pomodoro technique shines when it comes to tasks that need frequent attention but don't really require deep work.

Like replying to emails, reviewing documents, or scheduling meetings. By working on one task for a short period of time, you can stay motivated and decrease distractions.

2. Battling Procrastination: The idea of working for just 25 minutes makes tasks seem less daunting. We can all sit down for 25 minutes and work on something.

This can be great for getting started, especially if you're prone to procrastination 👀

3. Avoiding Burnout: The mandatory breaks are there to make sure you don't push yourself too hard. It's a balanced approach that incorporates rest into productivity.

But what about Deep Work?

Here's where things get tricky. Not all tasks fit into neat 25-minute blocks.

Just before writing this newsletter, I was doing some python code for my day job.

For the past two weeks there has been an issue where the code I have written would crash a few times a day. This is code that's used by thousands of people!

The problem I had was I didn't have enough time to look into it and fix it until just now.

I opened ClickUp and started my time tracker. It took me four hours and six minutes to work out what was wrong with the code and implement the fix.

You don't get that level of deep work with the Pomodoro technique.

For anyone interested: in the end it was because I was trying to do an async function Python Flask. Which is very frowned upon.

Tomato, Tomahto: Tailoring Pomodoro to You

If you've come this far, you're probably considering giving the Pomodoro technique a try. And why not? But remember, there's always room for customisation.

Find that sweet spot where the technique serves you, not where you're a slave to the timer.

Reply to this email if you end up trying it out and let me know how you get on.

Until next time! Keep productive and eat lots of tomatoes 🍅

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