At the moment I’m benefiting from using the pomodoro technique to be smarter with my daily planning and keeping overwhelm at bay. Read on to learn what the pomodoro technique is and how you can use it in your every day planning too.
But before we get started I would just like to point out that I’m way waaaaayyyy from perfect. I still don’t always manage to get all my tasks done every day. Life gets in the way. Things take longer than I estimated. But I really do feel that it helps me on many different levels which is why I wanted to share this with you.
What is the pomodoro technique?
In essence it means that you set a timer for a specific time and you decide what it is you want to have done during that pomodoro session. You start the timer and work solely on the thing you decided to work on. When the alarm goes off you stop what you’re doing and take a break. After the break you decide what to do in the next pomodoro session. Rinse and repeat.
So that was the short explanation :)
When it comes to how long the session should be – that’s completely up to you. Do you work better and stay more focused if you work 20 minute sprints? Then go for 20 minutes! Are you doing something that requires time to get into? Then maybe you go for an hour.
And if something requires shorter sprints and other things require longer sprints – mix it up! Only you know what will help you stay focused and energized so listen to that inner voice.
As for the breaks you should definitely try to do something that’s away from the computer and keep it short and sweet. Go to the kitchen for a glass of water. Do some jumping jacks. Some days I actually do things like that – first break I might do jumping jacks, second squats, third I put on a song and dance. Anything to get my blood going and keep my energy up.
Why I use pomodoros + How I use it in my Bullet journal
1. It helps me to be realistic with my planning
In a day I rarely have as much time as I’d like to get all my stuff done. So I do my best to prioritize. But there will most likely still be too much I want to add to my to-do list compared to the amount of time I actually have.
This is where pomodoro technique gets super handy.
Before I start adding tasks to my daily log I check my calendar so I know how much time I have to work on my projects and to-do’s. That way I know how many pomodoros I can squeeze in.
So in my daily log I start adding the tasks that I need or want to get done. For every task I then also do a rough time estimate.
At the moment I work with 30 minute pomodoro sessions, so if I think a task will take one hour to complete that equals two pomodoros. Next to the task I’ll write down how many pomodoros I think it will take, in this example I’d write “2”.
And when I’ve planned up all my available pomodoros I know there’s no use to add more tasks because I most likely won’t have time to get to it anyways.
Once I’ve completed the task I’ll write down how many pomodoros it actually took.
Let me show you an example from the other day. In the photo you see that on Sunday I wanted to organize the bathroom storage. I thought it would take 3 pomodoros, i.e. 1.5 hours, so I wrote ”3” next to the task. In reality it only took 2 pomodoros, i.e. 1 hour. So I added ”- 2”. It’s as simple as that :)
I don’t know about you, but I get a bit frustrated when I don’t manage to check of all the tasks on my list. And those days when I manage to check them all off I feel awesome. I’d rather feel awesome than frustrated and the pomodoros helps me with that ;)
2. The health benefits
You’ve probably heard by now that sitting is the new smoking. If you sit for long periods of time it takes a tole on your health. But by not sitting for longer than an hour or so at a time you reduce the risks. And by having my breaks after every pomodoro I get up and move every 30 minutes. It doesn’t have to be the jumping jacks if you don’t want to ;) but just getting up and walking around will benefit you.
3. Short deadlines motivates me to get things done
When I do a task that has a time estimate I have this instinct that I want to get it done within that set time. It rarely ever happens but it does keep me motivated to be focused and work efficiently in the hopes of finally making it happen.
The toughest thing about pomodoros + How to handle it
Let me be honest and tell you that it’s not always smooth sailing. I’ve been doing this on and off since I was a teenager and sometimes it’s easier and sometimes (like now) I struggle with it.
A big struggle is to actually FOCUS when I’m in a pomodoro session. It’s the classic ”case of the squirrel”. 10 minutes in I might realize that the bowl from my breakfast is still on the kitchen table and for some reason, without thinking, I get up to put it away. No, no, no! Or, my most common ”squirrel moment” is that I just have to get a cup of tea. In the middle of a pomodoro!
I can avoid some of these moments by using my kitchen timer instead of the timer on my iPhone. The kitchen timer is more visible and reminds me whenever I think about doing something else that I’m in the middle of a pomodoro.
Another tip is to keep a piece of paper or notebook by your side. Whenever you remember something you have to do you write it down. Then once your session is over you take care of that during your break.
Another struggle of mine is that I kind of forget to do the pomodoro when I get started in the morning. Many times I think to myself that I’ll only check the emails, my TeuxDeux app and THEN I’ll get started with my to-do list and the pomodoros. But the thing is that by starting my day with doing stuff like checking my email it kills my energy. And maybe more importantly I tend to get stuck in the internet-rabbit-hole and have a hard time getting back on track.
To get around that problem I have a goal of doing my daily log the evening before, that way I know what my priorities and tasks are for the day. And in the morning, after my morning routine, I only open up my computer after I’ve set the alarm for my first pomodoro and I know what to do.
How about you?
Do you use the pomodoro or any other technique to plan out your day? As always, I would love to get some new fresh ideas from you guys so feel free to comment or get in touch via social media.
Love + Hugs,