Have you procrastinated on starting a task because you think it is too daunting as it is going to take a long time? Don’t worry I have been on that boat. But let me tell you about an easy technique and an iPhone app that will finally help in tackling the problem.
The technique is called the Pomodoro technique. The idea behind the technique is very simple.
1. In order to overcome your unhealthy work habit, you have to divide your work into small tasks of 25-40 minutes called Pomodoro. You should then work on a task without any distractions or interruptions. You can do this by setting a timer or using this awesome app called Flat Tomato (App Store link), named after the timepiece, a tomato-shaped kitchen timer used by Francesco Cirillo, the author of the book called The Pomodoro Technique.
2. You then need to take a break of 5 mins to take a break or relax. When you are taking the break you should not think of the task you have finished. The iPhone app takes care of informing you when the break starts and when you should start working on the next task again.
It is that simple. I came across the technique through the Blinkist app (App Store link), which condenses non-fiction books down to the best parts in audio or text.
Since each Pomodoro is so small, I find it a lot easier to focus on the task and avoid getting distracted. This is useful especially when you are working on a large boring task as you know that you can take a break in 25 minutes.
But there are some rules you need to follow:
1. You have to complete the Pomodoro. There is no concept of a half or 80% complete Pomodoro.
2. You should also resist any kind of distraction or temptation such as grabbing a quick snack, watching TV or checking your email. If you succumb to the temptation, then you should cancel the Pomodoro and start again.
The reason for being so strict about these rules is to make it a habit so you can work in a Pomodoro style way without thinking about it.
Here are some more tips to implement the Pomodoro technique:
1. If you finish a task in 20 mins then simply keep going. If you were working on a presentation then use the remaining 5 mins to see how you can make it even better.
2. You must take a break after finishing a Pomodoro. At times, you want to keep going when you’re in a flow. But breaks are mandatory, so take them seriously. You shouldn’t be doing things like checking your email during the break. You should use them to relax and distract yourself so you can be energized for the next task.
3. After you have finished your 4 pomodori, you can enjoy longer 15 to 30 mins break
4. The biggest enemies to implement the Pomodoro technique are external and internal interruptions. You may get an idea for your project (internal interruption) or you may get a call, which can be a distraction. But there are easy ways to handle them. In the case of an internal interruption, jot it down somewhere maybe in your inventory of tasks and get back to your Pomodoro.
So far it has done wonders for my productivity and you feel happier as you feel like you have accomplished something every time you finish a Pomodoro.
I recommend you give it a shot and put an end to procrastination in your work life.
What do you need to get started with the Pomodoro technique:
1. You need the Flat Tomato app which will help you implement the Pomodoro technique.
2. Two lists: Your to-do list and your inventory.
One of the things that you have to learn is how to estimate how many pomodori you need for a given task. But with time you will get better at it.
The Best iPhone app for Pomodoro Technique: Flat Tomato
The best thing about the iPhone or for that matter any smartphone these days is that there is an app for everything. There are several apps for the Pomodoro technique in the App Store, but Flat Tomato is the best app I have come across so far. It offers several features:
• The UI is very simple and intuitive.
• You have to tap on the clock to start a pomodoro and the timer.
Here’s an introduction video of the Flat Tomato iPhone app:
If you have a tendency to procrastinate I would strongly recommend you to give the Pomodoro technique a shot. It really simple to follow and it is very effective. If you are already using the technique then I would recommend trying the Flat Tomato app. It is very helpful.
If you do give it a shot let me know how it goes. I would love to hear your experience.
Note: If you’re a developer of an iPhone app for Pomodoro and believe your app is even better, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.