There’s a project you need to get done but you’ve been putting it off and now it’s crunch time. You’ve tried to get started but you can’t focus. Every time you sit down to do it you get distracted. You need something that will get you committed to starting and keep you committed to finishing. That something could be The Pomodoro Technique.

Creator Francesco Cirillo had the same problem when he was a college student. Struggling to stay focused, he made a bet with himself to see if he could study for two minutes without distraction. He got his tomato shaped kitchen timer, set it for 2 minutes and when he heard the ding he knew he won the bet. That prompted him to experiment, see if he could go longer. Through trial and error he concluded that his most productive state was 25 minutes of work followed by a 5 minute break. Naming it for his timer, The Pomodoro (Italian for tomato) Technique was born.

Emphasizing progress over perfectionism, it’s a system we can all get in the habit of using to get stuff done. Working in pomodoros – a short, pre-determined amount of time – creates focus and the guarantee of breaks boosts motivation. This technique can “significantly reduce the inclination to procrastinate”, help you sidestep burn-out and achieve your goals.

So let’s get started! Pick a task, set your timer to 25 minutes, get to work, stop when you hear the alarm, set it again for 5 minutes and take a break. When the break alarm rings, start the process again. When you’ve worked your way through 4 pomodoros it’s time for a longer break of 15-30 minutes.

The breaks are integral to this process, so those precious 5 minutes are not the time to deal with emails and texts. You need to get up and around so have a stretch, listen to music, make a cup of coffee. Anything that will give your brain a break so you’ll be ready to get started again.

Begin by doing one pomodoro and see how it goes. You can increase the number of pomodoros you do each day to find your comfort level. Once you get in the swing of things, do a pomodoro for making a list of what you need to tackle for your day either when you first sit down in the morning or before you log off the night before. Planning out your pomodoros can make you even more productive.

When getting started is the toughest part of your project it can be made a whole lot easier when you know the end is near. Working in pomodoros gives you the luxury of seeing the beginning, middle and the end of your progress and the structure to keep at it until the job is done. It can change your procrastination habit into a habit of success.

If you, someone you know or someone you work with thinks using the Pomodoro Technique could help them work past procrastination but are having trouble getting started, consider working with an Accountability Coach. They act as your goal guardian, providing motivation and cheering you on. For more information about our team of Accountability Coaches you can have a confidential conversation with Cindy by calling 631-921-4085 or reach her directly via email here.

Whatever stage of mental health recovery you are in, whatever level of support you need, a member of The Recovery Coach NY team can guide you through assessing your strengths and developing goals for next steps. The Recovery Coach NY honors all paths of recovery with years of experience and a vast array of resources that can support those in need find the way to the life of joy and purpose they deserve. We come with an empathetic ear and solution-oriented actions that can begin to bring the relief you and your loved one seek.

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