The Pomodoro Technique is a time management system that aims to help you make a better and more efficient use of your time: Accomplish more in less time by focusing your efforts on one task at a time. It doesn't require complex software or equipment and you can start using it in less than 10 minutes, though you may want to read the free ebook that explains it on detail.
Francesco Cirilloin created the Pomodoro technique back in 1992, as a way to improve his own use of time. Now a successful businessman and champion of Agile techniques for project management, he's seems to be a living example of the effectiveness of the technique.
Requirements for the Pomodoro technique
The Pomodoro system only requires focus, the ability to shut off distractions and being able to divide your tasks into small, manageable subtasks that can be accomplished in 25 minutes. And why 25 minutes? 25 minutes is, according to the Pomodoro defendants, the optimum time which you should spend focused on a single task. Each of those intervals is called a pomodoro, italian for tomato.
Most people name their pomodoros, so later on they can analyse what they have accomplished. After each pomodoro is finished you should take a 5 minutes break, and after 4 pomodoros it's time for a longer, 15 minutes break.
All you need to get started is a timer and a few printed sheets of paper. Good time management can be a vital skill if you want to start a home business but it takes time to get used to it, so consider trying it before starting up to increase your chances of success.
How To Get Started
The best way of getting started with the pomodoro technique is writing down a list of tasks on a sheet of people. If a task seems to big for 25 minutes, divide it into smaller ones. Group shorter tasks, such as making phone calls, so they take 25 minutes, or divide longer tasks such as checking website traffic statistics into more manageable blocks such as analysing PPC performance, or the conversion rates of key sales pages.
It takes some time to learn exactly how much can you accomplish in 25 minutes, and you may find yourself spending lots of extra time at the start on a task, or finishing early. Some money making schemes are more suited to this kind of time blocking than others, but with a bit of practice you'll become very good at estimating how long a task will take, which is always a big benefit in business.
If you finish early don't worry. Unless you actually finish in 5 minutes just dedicate the remaining time to improve what you did. Was that pomodoro about writing an article? If you finish in 20 minutes just spend the next 5 refining and improving it, without losing focus. If you spent less than 10 minutes doing the task, just cancel the pomodoro and move on to the next task.
Dealing with distractions
The goal of the pomodoro technique is enabling you to focus all of your attention on a single task. The sense of urgency from a 25 minutes deadline (often enhanced by the tick tock of the tomato shaped kitchen clock that gives the technique its name) helps increase your focus.
But what happens if you get distracted in the middle of a pomodoro? Interruptions happen, and if it's a short one (such as a colleague asking your help with something) it can be just dealt with in a couple of minutes, enough time to arrange a more suitable meeting. If the interruption takes longer, just cancel the pomodoro and make a note. Over time you will also be able to identify the reasons for cancelled pomodoros and maybe find ways of avoiding them.
Some people find the Pomodoro technique too rigid or the 25 minutes period too limited, but for many it can be a great tool to reduce wasted time and increase focus and productivity. The author offers a free ebook with all kind of detail about how the technique works and how to make it work for you, but you don't need to buy any of the merchandise to try it out. Just download a free app for your computer, set a timer on your phone or use your alarm clock to set the time, and spend a couple of weeks using it on your daily routine. You will discover suddenly that you accomplish much more in the same amount of time, with less time lost to distractions or by juggling too many things at the same time.