How I used Pomodoro to boost My Productivity


My semester started late this year – I made a trip to Nigeria to see my folks after an entire year. On my return, I dedicated some time to planning my goals, readjusting to life as a student and set my goals. Despite my planning, I struggled to find a daily rhythm; I was not working as effectively as I wanted and at times I felt I was just frittering away my time. My renewed efforts and strategies also didn’t work – I  even had to fight sleep to meet my targets at times.

I felt somewhat bad when I compared my productivity levels to that of the previous year; I worked really hard during my first year at MASDAR and always tried to push my limits. I marvel at the energy and passion that kept me going on and on and on; maybe it was because I had just left Nigeria, maybe because I  was a stranger; maybe not, maybe I wouldn’t know. One thing for sure, I was in a new challenging environment, everyone was nice and I had time to dedicate to work and boy! Did I work? I gave my all and rapidly got burnt out often. Now, getting burnt out is NOT good : Avoid it!

Want to achieve high levels of productivity, produce high-quality work and not get burnt out? Try Pomodoro. Pomodoro is a technique that enables you to dedicate 25 minutes to a single specific task and then take a five-minute break. It basically involves setting out 25 minutes blocks of intense focus – yes I.N.T.E.N.S.E focus; you cut distractions such as phone calls, emails, interruptions, focus on just one task and give it your best. The elimination of multi-tasking enables you to perform better and achieve goals within shorter periods too.

I first stumbled upon Pomodoro back in 2011 while I was working at Terragon but I dropped it later on. I rediscovered pomodoro while I was checking out apps on the Chrome web store  (i.e. a form of distraction that is equivalent to wasting time) and decided to give it a second shot. First, it was great to read Francesco Cirillo’s story; his reasons for inventing the technique and then learn how to properly apply the technique. My next steps involved a reorganization of my activities to fit into the model; I then forced myself to adjust – I initially found the 25-minute blocks to be too long.

Pomodoro has helped me improve my planning and estimation – I now know what I need to do every day and have a better idea of the effort involved. It has also worked wonders for my focus: I used to be easily distracted and usually gave up easily. However with pomodoro I know what I want to achieve whenever I start out a pomodoro block and I can dedicate my efforts to achieving the best results or completing the pomodoro (whichever comes first; it’s a win-win for moi). Best of all, I can work optimally for extended periods without getting burnt out; now, that’s  pomo-tastic! :)

You should try it out too; I am not guaranteeing that it’ll work for you ( it has sure helped me to get things done Alhamdulilah) but who knows? It just might…

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