Don't Delay

Understanding procrastination and how to achieve our goals

Doing a Full Pomodoro: Give Me a Break, Please!

Work, break; Work, break—do the pomodoro!

Do a pomodoro. The tomato that's a verb. Sure, the technique has merits, but be careful not to miss the point. Technique is never enough.

We all want a magic bullet, something to fix us. In the case of those who want to beat procrastination and to be more productive, one option is the Pomodoro Technique. If you don't know what it is, check out this YouTube video summary.

What's the problem?
Hey, it makes sense, right? And, it worked for Francesco Cirillo who invented the technique to stay focused while at university. Well, maybe it did. I don't know of research that supports the many claims made about how it "trains the brain" or makes us more productive in the long run.

The key thing for me is that any technique will always fall short when it isn't supported by commitment and focus. If you are deeply committed to working on a task, then, yes, a timer that helps you focus for 25 minutes may be a trick to get you started, but then there's the next 25 minutes, and the 25 after that.

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In the end, I think it's more important to understand the reasons that self-regulation fails (e.g., giving in to feel good) and to develop strategies to minimize the gap between intention and action (e.g., implementation intentions). Knowledge is power, and without this knowledge, a personal sense of agency and real sense of purpose, technique alone will soon become a "been there, done that" sort of thing.

Breaking down a task into manageable, concrete chunks. Staying focused on a task for a defined period of time. Rewarding oneself for making progress. All of these are good things. Are they "the" answer to your time management or procrastination problems? I doubt it.

Live and learn. You can download the PDF book free, follow pomodoro news on Twitter, join the facebook group, sign up for a workshop, read the official blog or join the Google group. Sometime after this, you may even find 25 minutes to actually do some work ☺

 

Timothy A. Pychyl, Ph.D., is an associate professor of psychology at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, where he specializes in the study of procrastination.

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