One of the biggest challenges – for me at least – is actually getting started to work. Taking the first step – starting – can be intimidating and especially if it’s uncomfortable or important work it can be way too easy to procrastinate.
After I finally start to work I usually continue working, because it’s much easier to continue after the initial struggle. Newton’s First Law applies perfectly here: An object that’s in motion, stays in motion. The contrary unfortunately is true as well: An object at rest stays at rest. You do need initial energy to actually push yourself to action.

This is where the Pomodoro method comes in handy. It’s a method for managing your time that was invented by Francesco Cirillo during the 1980s. Pomodoro is the Italian word for tomato and it’s based on the tomato kitchen timer he used during that time.

What you technically do is time boxing. You set a timer for a specific duration – usually 25 minutes – and work on whatever it is you want to work on. Then you rest for 5 minutes and continue with another work session. After four sessions you’ll take a longer rest for 15 to 30 minutes.

This is great, because you don’t waste time procrastinating, but start immediately when the timer begins. It’s the initial energy that you need to push yourself into action.

How to do it?

First you have to decide what task you will tackle during your sessions. What is the important thing you need or want to get done? Without clarity you won’t get anything done, believe me.

After deciding on your task you set a timer for 25 minutes and get started immediately. For these 25 minutes you concentrate on nothing but working and try to get as much done as possible.

Then you rest for up to 5 minutes. Don’t start browsing the internet or scroll through Instagram. Walk for a few minutes, meditate or drink a cup of tea. You don’t want to distract yourself, you just want to take a moment to recharge your brain.

After your break you start another 25 minute session.

You can repeat this process indefinitely, although you should take a longer break after every fourth Pomodoro. Your productivity will go down if you don’t, so take at least 15 to 30 minutes to air your brain. I take 35 minutes, because I’m a little obsessive about half and full hours.

A full cirle looks like this:

25 min of work
5 min of rest
25 min of work
5 min of rest
25 min of work
5 min of rest
25 min of work
35 min of rest

Which is a total of 2 ½ hours of focused work (the breaks included). Not bad, isn’t it? Repeat as often as needed.
I don’t use this method all the time. Usually I use it whenever I’m struggling with or avoiding a task. It’s great to push yourself to eat your frog (your most important and intimidating goal for the day).

Have you tried this method already? Will you try it? What results did you get? Where did you struggle? Let us know!

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