Tomatoes against procrastination

When it comes to writing your paper, procrastination is your friend, right? … I mean your foe… Sometimes it’s so horribly hard to get concentrated on what you should really be doing. Instead you find yourself checking Facebook yet another time (I bet this is how you ended up reading this!). Your work doesn’t seem any more appealing even this after you have washed your dishes, replied e-mails from month ago, made an umpteenth cup of coffee, cleaned your room, swiped your windows shiny-clean and perhaps even your doors and walls? How about starting working on that assignment now? Well, actually, before you do, check out the Pomodoro Technique®.

I’ll introduce a very simple method and yet a very effective one. In its essence, the technique invented by Francesco Cirillo is very straightforward. Pick a goal to achieve – e.g., write a half a page or find 5 relevant articles for that research. Take your kitchen timer, set it at 25 minutes and then work during that time – I mean really work, concentrating only on one assignment only. After the 25 minutes allow yourself a 5 minute break before another pomodoro (25 min of work). After every four pomodoros you can take a longer break (say 15 minutes).

Be efficient
Pomodoros help you to manage your time efficiently – the key is only doing one thing at a time, not chatting on skype, checking out latest news, following that sports’ ticker AND writing your thesis next to it. When you suddenly feel the urge to do something else mid-pomodoro, ask yourself whether it could be postponed until your break. If so, just write it down to a piece of paper – e.g., ‘check whether someone liked my status on FB’ and return to it after your pomodoro finishes.

The power of breaks
The small break between pomodoros is great for distancing yourself for a moment from you work – it lets you see what you’re working on from a new angle, get some new ideas what and how to do. Feel free to get up from your chair and walk around for a bit; of course, you can also use the break for checking e-mails, news, facebook or getting a coffee.

Check out the apps
Instead of a kitchen timer, you can use all the variety of mobile apps, browser apps or just webpages that serve the same purpose (and sometimes do a bit more). You may want to start off with something very straightforward like the or the Tomato-timer.

Take Pomodoros further
The method allows further possibilities. You can plan your whole day of work by estimating how many pomodoros each of your tasks will take. Why not hold meetings using the same principle to refrain from useless chit-chat? Also, do check the official Pomodoro technique webpage for FAQ and the free book on this method.